Igesund’s future as SA coach looks bleak

2014-01-22 00:00

SOUTH African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan’s statement on Monday suggested that Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund may be facing the sack when the organisation’s Executive Committee meet at the beginning of February.

“I am fully aware that the national team needs urgent attention and we are dealing with the situation.

“We have a meeting already scheduled in early February where the team name, technical staff and technical sponsorship will be addressed,” Jordaan commented.

The suspicion of Igesund’s departure was strengthened yesterday by Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi, who stopped short of confirming that the former Maritzburg United, Manning Rangers, Mamelodi Sundowns, Moroka Swallows, Free State Stars and Orlando Pirates mentor was on his way out.

“If a newspaper is suffering from circulation problems, they will start asking questions from the top with the editor,” Chimhavi said suggestively. “We cannot start any processes until after Chan [African Nations Championship] is completed. We are hosting this tournament and any decisions made will be made after it is completed.”

The Exco meeting would also likely result in a name change from Bafana Bafana, a term that reached the height of its affection during the 2010 Fifa World Cup on home soil.

“The performance of our national team has not been acceptable. ‘Bafana Bafana’ is no longer associated with a winning brand,” said Chimhavi. “We will also be unveiling a new technical sponsor in the next few weeks, so there are a lot of changes taking place.”

While the proposed changes may affect Bafana at a surface level, Jordaan also emphasised the need for a focus to be placed on developing football at grassroots level. In 2012 Safa launched a campaign that sought to train 10 000 to 15 000 newly qualified coaches each year as part of their “2020” vision — an initiative aimed at getting Bafana into the top three sides in Africa and top 20 in the world by 2020.

Chimhavi was defensive when asked whose responsibility it was to ensure that football structures at school level provided young players with a clear and assisted path to international football.

“It is the responsibility of the people who run football in the country — Safa,” he said. “But soccer is a sport of billions. Everyone should play their part. The clubs and anybody who is passionate about football — it is not about looking at Safa and asking what they are doing.”

Chimhavi also referred to Safa’s plan to construct nine state-of-the-art football academies in South Africa — one in each province. The first, Durban’s Hoy Park Sports Development Centre, was confirmed last November but construction is yet to commence.

On Safa’s projected 15 000 coaches a year, Chimhavi acknowledged that there had been problems.

“Every project has teething problems, but we need to get all 52 regions involved and they need to play their part. We cannot just look at the head office. How many coaches should come out of Cape Town? How many out of Durban?” he asked.

“Facilities are a major problem, and we have already laid down artificial surfaces in 32 of Safa’s 52 regions.”

“The performance of our national team has not been acceptable. ‘Bafana Bafana’ is no longer associated with a winning brand.”

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