2010-07-25 10:15

Since its readmission to international football in 1992 South

Africa has had 18 coaches in 18 years – from Stanley “Screamer” Tshabalala in

1992 to Pitso Mosimane this year.

This is an incredible statistic when one

compares it to other countries such as Germany, which has had only 11 coaches

since 1923.

It is hardly a record to inspire confidence among the followers of

Bafana Bafana.

England have used 15 since 1946, two of whom were caretaker

coaches, according to a study conducted a few years ago.

Clearly South Africa is out of sync with international trends and

it is plausible that the constant change in coaches is one of the primary

reasons the country has experienced a steady decline since 1996.

It is no coincidence that the one mentor who brought success to

South Africa by winning the Africa Cup of Nations, Clive Barker, was the longest

serving coach, having held 43 matches.

Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, who is now national Under-23 coach and

will now assist the senior national coach, Jomo Sono, Mosimane himself and

Carlos Alberto Parreira have had the distinction of twice leading the national


It has been a long and uneven road for Bafana since their first

match against Cameroon on July 7 1992 – the country has only the 1996 Africa Cup

of Nations (Afcon) crown to show for its troubles.

Although the latest Fifa ranking show a slight improvement in

Bafana’s international standings – having moved up from 83 to 66 – that position

is still far off the 16th position they held after winning the 1996 Afcon under

the astute Barker.

But warning signs began appearing from the time the first Bafana

coach, Tshabalala, was relieved of his duties after only three months in


Tshabalala had a baptism of fire during his stint, leading to the

famous 4X4 tag that attached to him after Bafana lost 4-1 to Zimbabwe and 4-0 to


His successor, Mashaba, only lasted six months before Augusto

Palacios took over the reins in 1993.

Barker joined in 1994, winning the Simba Four Nations before the


After halting the team’s losing trend and taking them to their

maiden Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia Barker was shown the door when the

team landed back in the country.

There have also been tournament coaches, with Sono taking the team

to Burkina Faso in the 1998 Afcon, where they finished second, and the 2002

World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

But who can ever forget Bobo Dioulasso, where Sono unveiled Benni

McCarthy? This is the Afcon event that introduced the West Ham United striker to

the international stage when he scored four goals against Namibia.

Philippe Troussier took the team to the 1998 France World Cup and

only lasted for the duration of the tournament.

Trott Moloto was in charge when Bafana went to the 2000 Afcon in

Ghana and Nigeria and finished third.

After Moloto Safa hired Carlos Queiroz in 2000. However, after

failing to do well in the 2002 Afcon in Mali, despite qualifying for the World

Cup, he was relieved of his duties on the eve of the tournament – only for Sono

to lead the team to Korea and Japan.

April “Styles” Phumo took the team to the 2004 Afcon in Tunisia and

Ted Dumitru went to the 2006 edition in Egypt and the team was knocked out in

the first rounds of both tournaments.

Englishman Stuart Baxter was also involved between 2004 and 2005.

He was sacked after failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

And then it was Samba time as Safa went the Brazilian way, with

Parreira entering the scene in 2007.

But after leading the team to the Ghana Afcon in 2008, where they

were knocked out in the first round, Parreira called it a day, citing his wife’s

illness as the reason for his early departure and recommending his countryman

Joel Santana to take over from him.

Santana’s era was the worst as Bafana failed to qualify for this

year’s Afcon in Angola and went eight games without a victory in 2009.

Parreira made a comeback towards the end of last year and led the

team in the 2010 World Cup, where they again failed to reach the knockout stages

of the tournament.

Now it is Mosimane’s turn to take over the running of the national

side. Only time will tell how far the country will go this time.

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