Pressure on Bafana coach to deliver

2009-10-02 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Under-fire Bafana Bafana head coach Joel Santana resembled a dead man walking yesterday after many had called for his dismissal before he had named his 23-man squad to play Norway and Iceland in friendly internationals in Oslo on October 10 and Reykjavik on October 13.

At a packed media briefing, new SA Football Association president Kirsten Nematandani made it clear that he had given Santana a stay of execution.

“We are aware of the outcry about Bafana’s lack of success in recent matches. We told the coach that we expect him to starting bringing back results.

“But we need to give Santana and his team our full support before we take the step of firing or not firing him,” the new Safa boss said.

“We have not given Santana or his technical team an ultimatum, but we want to make sure that we have a competitive team to play in the World Cup next June,” he said.

In campaigning for the Safa presidency, the Football Transformation Forum, of which Nematandani is a member, said they would fire Santana should a member of the FTF win the Safa election last Saturday.

But it appears Nematandani and his followers are having second thoughts and are prepared to give Santana another chance to get the under performing national side back on track.

Santana was also told to conduct yesterday’s conference in English. He normally speaks through an interpreter.

After 16 months in charge of Bafana, the Portuguese-speaking Santana’s English is still poor and difficult to understand. Few of the SA media could work out what he was trying to say when they confronted him and asked if he would resign should Bafana lose against Norway and Iceland, he said, or at least it sounded like he said: “I have no problems with the new Safa president, I am simply doing my job.”

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Emille Baron (SuperSport United), Rowen Fernandez (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates)

Defenders: Bevan Fransman (Maccabi Netanya, Israel), Siboniso Gaxa (Mamelodi Sundowns), Morgan Gould (SuperSport), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth, England), Anele Ngongca (Gent, Belgium), Siyabonga Sangweni (Golden Arrows). Lucas Thwala (Pirates)

Midfielders: Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham, England), Benson Mhlongo, Teko Modise (both Pirates), Steven Pienaar (Everton, England), Macbeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs), Elrio van Heerden (Blackburn Rovers, England)

Strikers: Richard Henyekane (Arrows), Mabhuti Khenyeza (Sundowns), Sthembiso Ngcobo (Free State Stars), Katlego Mphela (Sundowns), Bernard Parker (FC Twente).

 

 

 

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