Igesund and Safa cannot work together beyond current contract

2014-04-26 00:00

SO Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has been cleared of any wrongdoing during the African Nations Championship (Chan) played earlier this year in this country.

Several allegations of shenanigans were levelled against the coach after the national soccer team embarrassingly bombed out of the tournament in the first round.

The coach was accused of trying to influence players to ask for more bonuses from the South African Football Association (Safa) and leaving goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune out of the last and crucial game against Nigeria while the player purportedly said he was fit enough to play.

The coach insisted that he has followed the advice of the medical team not to field the player.

Why, we were even told that at the time, “several senior players” had Nicodemously phoned Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula who had labelled them a “bunch of losers” and told him that they were not the problem but the problem lay with the coach.

So in their wisdom, the South African Football Association (Safa) formed a task team headed by one of their most prominent and respected members of the national executive committee (NEC), advocate Norman Arendse.

One cannot be blamed for thinking, or even concluding that Safa must have taken or thought the matter was very serious to ask somebody like Arendse, whom we know is a very busy man, to look into the matter.

Now, we are told that none of the players, not even Khune, availed themselves to the committee when asked to come and give evidence.

In the end, the committee had to rely on second-hand evidence and thus there was nothing concrete to find the coach guilty and a not guilty verdict was the only conclusion they could reach.

So now Igesund is expected to continue and prepare the national team for their two friendly matches against Australia and New Zealand next month as if everything is kosher.

We are even told that he is already putting plans together for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that start later this year.

Is this not a matter of putting the cart way before the horse? How sure is he that his contract will be extended when it expires in about two months’ time?

I think not!

My view is that the relationship between Igesund and his employers at Safa is irreparable, For now, I think it is a matter of tolerating each other just to see off the contract.

It will be difficult for the two parties to work together beyond Igesund’s contract because such relationships require trust from both parties and how do you trust your employers when they have investigated you?

In a working relationship, there should be enough trust that your employers would take your word without the necessity of spending money in an investigation of your behaviour.

And how does he look the players who allegedly made those accusations against him, in the eye going forward? Do you think Igesund can still continue to have a cordial relationship with his captain, Khune, after all this? I don’t think so!

It is for these reasons that I do not see the relationship between Igesund and Safa being patched up in such a way that they can still work together beyond the current contract.

Mark my words! We will have a new Bafana Bafana coach after the World Cup in Brazil. By the way, one of Igesund’s mandates was to take the national team to the World Cup but we will only be watching the spectacle on TV after our boys, under the tutelage of the same Igesund, failed to make it.

Besides the allegations from the Chan — which have proven not to be true — Igesund has come short on all the mandates he was given when he took over the poisoned chalice from Pitso Mosimane.

It is indeed a tough job to be a national coach, no wonder it comes with such a high salary package.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa’s leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor. This column originally appeared on Sport24.

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