Safa settles Bafana coaching poser

2012-06-30 19:24

Komphela loses out on top job but he’ll be national technical director

After being overlooked for the Bafana Bafana hot seat, Steve Komphela did not feel like a loser – he is expected to take over the reins as Safa’s technical director.

Komphela lost the plum Bafana job to Gordon Igesund, who was yesterday given a two-year contract to restore the integrity and performance level of Bafana and return them to their former glory.

But the Free State Stars coach will not be lost to Safa as he has been earmarked to take over from Serame Letsoaka.

The South African public has always punted Igesund for the job and yesterday Safa finally bowed to the pressure. He was given the nod ahead of Komphela.

But Safa will have to negotiate Igesund’s release from his Moroka Swallows contract, according to Swallows managing director Leon Prins.

“We had a two-year deal with Gordon and we won’t be unreasonable. I am happy for Gordon and I have no doubt he will deliver for the national team and, as much as this destabilises our plans, I wish him all the best,” said Prins yesterday.

He said they would make an announcement soon as to who will replace Igesund.

Igesund will not get close to what his predecessor Pitso Mosimane was earning monthly, with Safa only prepared to fork out between R400 000 and R500 000 a month for his salary.

Mosimane was on about R800 000 monthly. The Swallows coach has been given a mandate to reach at least the semifinals of next year’s Africa Cup of Nations and get the team to Brazil for the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

Bafana are lying third in the qualifying group behind Ethiopia and the Central African Republic, after drawing twice.

Igesund, who is entitled to bring his own backroom staff, said he was honoured to have been given the job.

He is seen as a quick solution for the team, which has been going through a rough patch recently.

His track record in the PSL has been impressive and winning four league titles with four different teams stands him in good stead.

But leading the national team will not be an easy task for the former Manning Rangers, Orlando Pirates, Santos and Mamelodi Sundowns coach as he faces former world champions Brazil in his first official game in September.

Igesund and Komphela gave a brief presentation yesterday where it emerged that both had been given the nod.

Igesund promised to turn Bafana’s fortunes around, comparing the team’s recent performances to the situation when he took over at Swallows. But after just one season he transformed the Dube Birds from relegation candidates to title contenders as they
finished second behind champions Pirates.

“Gordon’s presentation was simple and to the point. He said his job was to fine-tune and revive teams as he did at Swallows,” said a member of the executive.

“But Steve was sharp as his vision is in line with what Safa wants to achieve so he was given the job as technical director.”

A member of the technical committee which had initially recommended Komphela for the hot seat said the Free State Stars coach was a long-term candidate for the job.

“Steve is an ideal candidate for the long term, so responsibility for stabilising the team has been given to Gordon for now. Imagine if we had given it to Steve and he failed. That would be the end and we didn’t want to do that,” said a member of the technical committee yesterday.

He said the team needed an instant solution to their declining standards and believed Igesund was perfectly suited to achieve it.

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