Safa taking time to choose

2014-07-20 15:01

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The SA Football Association (Safa) is facing a dilemma regarding the appointment of the Bafana Bafana coach.

Six days before the scheduled announcement on Saturday, no coach has been signed.

The position of technical director is also still giving the football governing body a massive headache.

But Safa president Danny Jordaan said they would definitely announce the new man to take over from Gordon Igesund after Safa’s national ­executive­ ­committee meeting (NEC) on Saturday.

“The technical committee will meet on Tuesday to make the final decision on the coach,” he said. “They will then table their recommendation to the NEC on Saturday for it to be ratified.”

Jordaan admitted that Safa might not announce the new technical director on Saturday, as envisaged. While conceding there were glitches, he declined to comment further.

But sources in the upper echelons of Safa confirmed that Carlos Queiroz, Stephen Keshi and now Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba were front­runners for the onerous task of guiding Bafana.

Mashaba – a public favourite – set the cat among the pigeons this week when he declared his availability. Safa had been eyeing Queiroz and had apparently agreed with him in principle but Iran, who he guided to the World Cup, was said to have this week offered him double what Safa put on the table.

Safa, which is in the middle of a financial restructuring process, is said not to be interested in entering into a bidding process with Iran and was awaiting a final answer from Queiroz yesterday.

Keshi is said to be very keen to join Bafana as his future with Nigeria is not clear, with football in that country in disarray.

City Press has learnt that Stuart Baxter is still the sole candidate for technical director, but the snag is that Kaizer Chiefs, with whom he has a two-year contract, want to keep him.?Another source who spoke on condition of anonymity believes Safa threw the names in a basket to gauge the public’s opinion on who they preferred to guide Bafana.

The first 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier is less than 40 days away and ideally, Safa should already have ­appointed a coach.

Bafana’s foes in the qualifiers – the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda – are playing this afternoon. It would have been helpful for the person in the Bafana job to spy on both teams. The winner will face ­Bafana. The other two teams in the group are Sudan and Nigeria – both of whom South Africa meet in their opening two games in the first week of September.

But Jordaan said the 2015 Afcon was not a major priority as Safa wanted to build for the future.

“We have tried the quick-fix route and it hasn’t worked for us. When we appoint the coach, his mandate will be the 2017 Afcon and the 2018 World Cup, otherwise we will have the same problem of a coach who selects old players to achieve instant results,” he said.

Yesterday, the SA Football Coaches Association (Safca) urged “Safa to be circumspect in its appointment of both the technical director and the coach for Bafana”.

Safca said: “There are local coaches with impeccable ­credentials who can drive the process of change provided there is appropriate ­technical and infrastructure support.”

SA Football Players Union president Hareaipha Marumo, who played under Mashaba in the Under-23 national team, said Mashaba was the best candidate.?“He knows and understands our culture and our players’­ mentality,” said Marumo.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said: “I cannot comment on the coach. Safa must decide and then they will brief me. I have an open line to Danny [Jordaan] so it will be destructive for me to discuss this in the media. I will comment once they announce their decision.”

There has been huge interest in the Bafana job (see box) since Safa ­announced it would not extend Igesund’s contract.

With the complexities of local football, don’t be surprised if any one of the many names mentioned in the box emerges as Safa’s man.

The list

1. Shakes Mashaba (63), South Africa

2. Carlos Queiroz (61), Mozambique

3. Stephen Keshi (52), Nigeria

4. Dick Advocaat (68), Netherlands

5. Pim Verbeek (58), Netherlands

6. Ruud Krol (65), Netherlands

7. Roberto Carlos (41), Brazil

8. Giovanni Trapattoni (75), Italy

9. Hervé Renard (45), France

10. Ljubo Petrovic (67), Serbia

11. Vladislav Heric (47), Serbia

12. Manuel José (68), Portugal

13. Juan Ramón López Caro (51), Spain

14. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (42), Netherlands

15. David Moyes (51), Scotland

16. Marcel Desailly (45), Ghana

17. Ruud Gullit (51), Netherlands

18. Avram Grant (59), Israel

19. Fabio Cannavaro (40), Italy

20. Henri Michel (66), France

21. Steve Bruce (53), England

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