David Martindale is optimistic that new signing Aphelele Teto will be allowed to play for Livingston in January after the “frustration” of seeing the South African attacker’s bid for a work permit dashed.
The cinch Premiership club revealed on Tuesday that they had recruited the 20-year-old forward from TS Galaxy on a four-year deal, only for his Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) application – which paves the way for a work permit to be granted – to be rejected.
Martindale admits he and Teto must “take it on the chin” for now until they can effect a “change in circumstances” to allow him to begin his career in Scotland.
“I’ve got to trust the process and go with the decision of the people on the panel,” the Livi boss said, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday.
“It’s frustrating from my point of view because I’m the manager recruiting the player and I think he can come in and do a job for Livingston. I wouldn’t be spending money on a player I think’s not going to play for me.
“It was disappointing we didn’t get the permit but I’ve got to trust how we do things in Scotland and take it on the chin.
“From our point of view, as a club, I think we’re the best people to decide if a player is going to play for us but I do understand there’s a process and a panel.”
Teto, who has been training with Livingston this summer ahead of his move, now faces the prospect of being loaned back to his homeland until he has enough points to re-apply.
“We’re looking at different ways to try and get his GBE in January,” said Martindale. “He’s not going to automatically qualify but his points tally needs to change and there’s various ways for that to happen.
“We’ll need to look at loaning him back to South Africa or somewhere else in Africa because he needs to be playing top-flight football in Africa. There’s a high probability he will get a call-up to the South Africa Under-23s which leads to a change in circumstances so we can re-apply.
“We’ve invested a lot in bringing him over here and getting over a lot of different hurdles so it’s frustrating but that’s the system. I’m not going to sit here with a petted lip about it.
“Teto’s disappointed but he’s taken it in the right manner. Like many Africans I’ve worked with, he’s a very resilient, robust character. He’s very positive.”
Martindale is nearing the end of his summer recruitment and is instead focused on trying to remove some fringe men from his squad.
“It’s more now about balancing the books slightly,” he said. “The main part of it is trying to move players on.
“There are two or three players who, if they want to play football this year, probably need to look elsewhere. They’ve known about this since May.
“It’s not me being horrible, no manager enjoys this side of it but you’ve got to balance the books. All going well, if we manage to do that, it may free up a bit of money to recruit someone else.”