Bafana’s Brazilian connection ends

2012-07-07 16:05

Former team members have emerged as frontrunners for Igesund’s technical team

The contracts of the two remaining Brazilians in the Bafana Bafana set-up, assistant coach Julio Leal and physical trainer Francesco “Chicco” Gonzales, have been terminated.

This was revealed by South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Dr Robin Petersen on Friday.

“I can confirm that we have terminated their contracts,” said Petersen.

This spells the end of the road for Leal, who has been in this position for the past four years under Carlos Alberto Parreira, Joel Santana and Pitso Mosimane.

Petersen was full of praise for Leal, whom he said would still spend a month showing Gordon Igesund the ropes.

“His contract stipulates that he must be given a month’s notice,” explained Petersen.

 “I must add that he has been a huge asset to South African soccer. He told me that he has fallen so in love with this country that he will be unashamedly supporting Bafana Bafana during our friendly match against Brazil in September.”

He said Gonzales will serve no notice period as his contract was not full-time and he was called on only occasionally when Bafana went to camp.

» Meanwhile, three former Bafana Bafana members have emerged as frontrunners for Igesund’s technical team.

City Press has reliably learnt that Igesund has identified former Bafana goalkeeper Andre Arendse as the man he would like to have with him on a permanent basis.

According to highly placed sources, he has also recommended Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios and Thanda Royal Zulu’s mentor Neil Tovey to assist him on a part-time basis when there are matches.

“Gordon wants one assistant on a full-time basis and two as and when it is required,” said one of the sources.

He was speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is still to be tabled to the Safa bosses.

“He has already identified his team and it is now up to Safa to approach them and their teams to get the ball rolling,” the source said.

Soon after his appointment as Bafana coach last week, Igesund was given powers to choose his backroom staff.

Palacios, who coached Bafana between 1992 and 1994, is known for his no-nonsense approach when it comes to physical training, while Tovey lifted the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations as captain.

Tovey, who was one of the five shortlisted coaches for the job, said in his interview he would not mind working as an assistant.

Arendse, who also won the 1996 Nations Cup and has 67 caps, worked with Igesund at Santos and Mamelodi Sundowns, and would bring extensive goalkeeping knowledge to the team.

This week Igesund refused to reveal his list but City Press has it on good authority that the trio have been identified.

Former Bafana skipper Lucas Radebe, Doctor Khumalo and Fani Madida were also mentioned last week but Safa and Igesund have categorically denied these reports, dismissing them as “speculation” and “rumours”.

Igesund is expected to brief Safa’s technical committee on his recommendations on Tuesday.

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