Bafana look to Nations Cup

2010-06-23 07:48

Bafana Bafana have set their sights on conquering the continent by

regaining the African Nations Cup in 2012.

Speaking after Bafana´s 2-1 win over 10-man France in their final

2010 World Cup Group A fixture played at a packed Free State Stadium yesterday,

the president of the SA Football Association (Safa), Kirsten Nematandani,

outlined plans for the future. Bafana won the continental crown in 1996.

It was the first time Bafana had beaten France and the first time

they had defeated a side ranked in the world´s top 10.

What makes the result remarkable is Bafana are ranked a lowly 83rd

in the world and France ninth.

The Safa chief said: “This was an historic day for Bafana. We have

gone out of the World Cup but regained our pride. This is a massive victory for

us and compensates a little for failing to advance in the tournament.

“The players have responded magnificently with this win over one of

the powerhouses of world soccer. Our target now is winning the 2012 African

Nations Cup (to be staged in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea) and I believe we can

to it. We showed against France that Bafana are ready to become a big team again

in Africa. The experience the players gained in the World Cup will be invaluable

in conquering Africa in 2012.”

Nematandani next job will be to name a successor to Brazilian head

coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, whose reign of 15 matches ended yesterday. Under

Parreira Bafana lost only one game in the Brazilian´s 15 matches in charge - the

second Group A match against Uruguay 3-0 at Loftus Versfeld last weekend which

all but ended South Africa´s World Cup hopes.

The man tipped to get the hot seat is Parreira´s assistant Pitso

Mosimane. When he was appointed as Safa president last September, Nematandani

promised he would name a South African to succeed Parreira when his contract

ends after the World Cup.

Mosimane said after the game he was keen to coach his country and

take them into the opening African Nations Cup qualifier away to Niger in

Setember.

Mosimane said: “I want the job but I am not going to campaign for

it. If it comes it comes and if it does not then something else will crop up for

me.”

Mosimane´s only rival is SuperSport United coach, Gavin Hunt, who

has won three back-to-back PSL titles. But Mosimane has been in the Bafana

set-up for the past four years, learning from Parreria and knows the system and

players.

Mosimane said: “We have shown we have depth in defence and midfield

but there is a need to groom more strikers. What I learnt for the World Cup is a

lot of coaches are playing three attackers and that could be the way to go. One

thing is certain we need more strikers.”

Bafana´s biggest success stories were the form of striker Katlego

Mphela and defender Bongani Khumalo. Mphela scored the second goal against

France and despite playing as a lone striker in the other two matches, had an

outstanding tournament.

Khumalo, the SuperSport captain who is only 23, is a natural

successor to Bafana skipper Aaron Mokoena when the time comes. He was brilliant

through the tournament alongside Mokoena at the heart of the defence.

Bafana ended Group A on four points with Mexico, who lost 1-0 to

group winner Uruguay in their group match played simultaneously in Rustenburg

but Mexico progress with a superior goal difference.

The disappointing French who were also World Cup winners in 1998

and runners up in 2006, finished bottom of the group with a solitary

point.

The French left the World Cup in turmoil and disgrace. They came

into the game against Bafana beset by infighting between player factions and

fights between players and head coach Raymond Domenech.

The French turned their campaign into a circus act when matters

came to a head during their second round match against Mexico in Polokwane when

Domenech and star striker Nicolas Anelka had a screaming row at half-time of

that match which they lost 2-0.

Anelka was expelled and sent home by the French Football Federation

at the weekend. Then the players childishly refused to train on Sunday in

protest over the Chelsea star’s expulsion.

Domenech then labelled his players actions as “stupid”, further

fuelling the trouble in the camp. Domenech’s reign is also over now but he and

the players face an inquisition from the disappointed French media and public

into their actions and poor performances in South Africa.



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