Race on for new coach

2009-10-20 07:10

The race is now on for the South African Football Association (Safa) to

appoint a successor to Brazilian Joel Santana who quit as

Bafana Bafana head coach yesterday afternoon.

The front runners are former Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto

Parreira, SuperSport United´s Gavin Hunt and Gordon Igesund of Maritzburg


Safa are set to name their new head coach at their executive

meeting in Johannesburg on Friday, but the smart money is on the return of

Parreira taking back the reins.

Parreira, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 in the United

States, quit as head coach of Bafana last April citing his wife´s illness as his

reason. He then  recommended Santana, but according to newspaper

reports, he would be happy to return and take charge of the squad for the 2010

World Cup if asked as long as Santana is out of the way.

It is speculated that Safa have already done a deal with


Santana was heavily criticised by South African soccer fans and

local media.

It had bee said that he was out of his depth at international level and never improved

during his 16 months in charge. The national team fell to their worst world raking

ever- 85th this month.

His poor command of English did not help his cause, nor did his

defensive tactics which have been roundly criticised.

Santos coach Boebie Solomons, who attended a coaching course with

Parreira in 1995, believes Parreira should be the only foreign coach to be

considered. He also said Santana had to give way.

“Something had to give. Bafana were spiralling out of control and

could have been an embarrassment at the World Cup, had things continued to be

allowed to slide.”

Bafana under Santana had lost eight of their last nine friendly


On bringing back Parreira, Solomons said: “Parreira is a top class

coach. It would not be like a new coach talking change for the first time if he

was reappointed as he knows the country and players, having been Bafana coach

before Santana.

“The players respect Parreira and like working with him.

His results may not have been the best when he was in charge of

Bafana, but he was building a solid foundation and was on the right track with

the national squad.”

He also added Santana´s resignation would act as a shake up to the

players: “This is a wake up call and was necessary to get the players back on


Solomons said should Parreira not be re-appointed, they should

stick with the two Bafana assistant coaches Pitso Mosimane and Jairo Leal.

“When the PSL season ends Safa can bring in more local coaches to


Igesund said there was no need to panic with the World Cup around

the corner.

“There is plenty of time to get the players ready for the World Cup

next June. The PSL season has been shortened and the new coach will have plenty

of time to get the squad into shape.”

Igesund said that there were a number of capable local coaches

ready to step in and coach Bafana if asked.

“It is up to Safa to make their decision, but we have the talent -

both on and off the field - to make Bafana a success at the World Cup.”

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