Safa’s Jordaan gives Bafana Bafana a Chan reality check

2014-01-19 10:00

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SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan says the country must first build a strong senior team before considering using the African Nations Championship (Chan) as a development tournament.

“If we use Chan to develop a second-tier team, then by implication we’d be saying we have a strong first team. And this is not the case with Bafana. We just don’t have a team,” said Jordaan.

By comparison, continental football powerhouses Ghana and Nigeria are using the tournament to blood youngsters.

Kwabena Adusei (24) is one of Ghana’s shining lights in defence.

The Asante Kotoko centre back is steadily establishing himself as the team’s trusted defender and Chan is the youngster’s first major tournament.

The Eagles’ reserve goalkeeper, Dele Sunday Alampasu (17), was part of the country’s Fifa Under-17 World Cup-winning side in the United Arab Emirates late last year.

Ghana and Nigeria are the only sides among the 16 nations taking part in the tournament in South Africa that have qualified for the World Cup in Brazil.

The Black Stars have entrusted assistant coach Maxwell Konadu – who is also the Ghana Under-23 coach – with the role of guiding Ghana at Chan.

After Ghana’s 1-0 win over Congo this week, Konadu said: “We must thank the initiative of this competition, which allows the world to see young and able talent from Africa.”

He is shadowed by his head coach, Kwessi Appiah, who is here observing the proceedings from the grandstands.

Jordaan said: “Ultimately, we would like to move there and use tournaments such as Chan to build a feeder team, but we must be realistic as we are not in the same position as Ghana and Nigeria. Given our position, our coach [Gordon Igesund] and the methodology are different.”

Jordaan said Bafana must start winning and place further up the world rankings if they want to be close to the best on the continent and in the world.

Ironically, South Africa went with a squad that was referred to as a “developmental team” when they played in the 2011 edition of Chan in Sudan.

The team was mentored by former South Africa Under-17 coach Simon Ngomane, who guided the side to the quarterfinals.

The side was mostly made up of amateur players and some – including Edward Manqele, Jabulani Shongwe and Katlego Mashego – went on to graduate and become part of Bafana Bafana.

Manqele was then in the books of Vodacom League side Trabzon, Shongwe was coming through the Mamelodi Sundowns reserve outfit Puk Tawana and Mashego was with Baroka FC.

Manqele and Shongwe are also part of this year’s tournament, but the latter was withdrawn after he picked up an injury in a warm-up match before the competition started.

In some instances, other countries have left it to the assistant coaches to be in charge.

Burkina Faso is coached by Brama Traore, who was the deputy to Paul Put – the man who guided the Stallions to the Afcon runners-up spot here last year.

Claude Le Roy has given his deputy, Betrant Mingeto, the responsibility to lead Congo in Group C.

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