Safa denies plans to replace Santana with Parreira

2009-10-14 00:00

THE SA Football Association has denied that last night’s friendly international against Iceland could have been Joel Santana’s last match in charge of Bafana Bafana, and that the association has plans to replace Santana with fellow Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira.

Santana was hired by Safa on Parreira’s recommendation after the latter quit as Bafana coach in April last year, citing his wife’s poor health.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani told Sapa yesterday: “I have never spoken to Parreira about returning to coach Bafana. Why should I? We employed a three-man technical committee to assess Bafana and how could we talk to Parreira before that three-man committee had even started their work?”

Nematandani last week appointed former South Africa coaches Clive Barker and Jomo Sono and SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt to assess Bafana under Santana.

The three could not get a visa to view South Africa’s 1-0 defeat against Norway in Oslo on Saturday, and began their task last night in Reykjavik. According to Nematandani, they will continue this process in the friendlies against Japan at Orlando Stadium on November 14 and Jamaica in Bloemfontein on November 17.

In a statement released by Safa yesterday, the association stressed that it will not be making any decision on Santana until after the Jamaica game. The ruling body seems determined not to have its hand forced on a decision by the media.

The statement reads: “[Safa] notes with regret the continued speculation about the status of ... Santana.

“This continued speculation has the effect of misleading the public about the preparations for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“... International friendly matches, intensive training camps such as the one before the Fifa Confederations Cup 2009, the Confederations Cup 2009 itself, a shortened domestic professional season, an upcoming lengthy training camp, professional administrative support, strategic scientific and technical support and the assessment of our panel of experts [Hunt, Sono and Barker] ... are but a few of the mechanisms we have used, and planned to use, to make [Bafana] competitive [in] 2010.

“This team of experts will have an opportunity to assess the last two games on home soil on November 14 [Japan] and 17 [Jamaica], 2009.

“It is our intention to take into account all of these tools in our appraisal of the performance of the national team. We have asked the three coaches to provide us with an assessment in the context of a broader report that we plan to present to our National Executive Committee [NEC].

“It would be nothing less than irresponsible not to place a matter of such great importance before our NEC.”

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