Pressing Issues: Safa’s beyond the pale

2012-07-07 16:11

Of course Komphela refused

If we were not talking about the South African Football Association (Safa), I would be able to say the decision to ­offer Steve Komphela the job of technical director boggled my mind.

However, Safa long ago passed the stage where anyone is surprised by their often-bizarre decisions.

For starters, it was obvious that Komphela would not take the position so soon after being defeated by Gordon Igesund for the plum job of Bafana Bafana coach.

Secondly, at 45 years of age (he celebrated his birthday on July 1), the Free State Stars head coach is far too young to leave active coaching and be stuck in an office.

The third reason is that it would make no logical sense – mind you, that’s lacking in many a Safa decision – for Komphela to take a job that would technically (excuse the intended pun) make him Igesund’s boss but come with less glamour and even fewer perks.

One of the major challenges for a technical director is to come up with a uniform style of play that is suitable for South African players.

This style should be implemented from the most junior level up to the senior national team.

In fact, one of the mysteries of South African football is why this nation hasn’t adopted a uniform playing style since being accepted into the world football family about 20 years ago.

This has failed to materialise despite the association having employed several individuals for the position, including German national Horst Kriete (still remember him?) and one Brazilian, Marcus Falopa, who turned out
to be one of the biggest jokes in South African football.

Listening to Dr Robin Petersen, the Safa chief executive, proclaim that the position of a technical director “is a very key position for us”, I struggled to prevent myself from shouting: “Toss me another one.”

The rule of thumb the world over is that technical directors are well-aged and matured coaches who command respect from all their peers in the nation.

They are the wise men of the game who have seen it all, been there, got the T-shirt and are well-versed in the football structures of their respective nations.

This makes their position easier as most of the things they say, go.

Now imagine Igesund, and all the other national team coaches, such as Shakes Mashaba, reporting to Komphela.

Not that I have little regard for Komphela. On the contrary, I hold him in very high esteem but he hasn’t reached the stage where he could be South Africa’s principals coaches.

Given this, I think it was a very good decision for him to turn down Safa’s offer and choose to continue the good work he is doing at Ea Lla Koto.

All I can say to him is: “Nice un on ya, pal,” despite the decision having left Safa with egg all over its face once more, as his refusal is now being interpreted as a snub in football circles.

So? What’s new?

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