Safa forced to keep useless Zondo

2011-04-02 18:50

The South African Football Association’s (Safa) failure to include a performance clause in Khabo Zondo’s four-year contract will cost it hundreds of thousands of rands.

The blunder occurred when Zondo, who is said to be a close friend of one of Safa’s four vice-presidents, was elevated to the level of national Under-20 coach without any proven record at youth level.

The team went on to lose nine out of 10 official games, thus failing to qualify for the African Youth Championships. He also did badly at the Cosafa Under-20 Championships in Botswana last year.

This saw Safa this week stating in a single line in a media release that it had ­“assigned” Zondo to the Transnet School of Excellence.

However, the school was shocked when approached, saying no one had informed them of this new development.

Zondo’s dumping at the school is set to cause more problems as Mandla Mazibuko (not to be ­confused with the Safa vice-

president) is holding the reins there as acting head. He is expected to be appointed full-time soon.

Before his elevation, Zondo had enjoyed some measure of success with unfashionable side Tembisa Classic in the elite league prior to going through unsuccessful stints with Mamelodi Sundowns, Golden Arrows, Bay United and ­Bloemfonteim Celtic.

Safa’s failure to include a ­performance clause in Zondo’s contract indicates that it seems to have learned nothing from its past ­blunders.

It once had to cough up R1.2 million to ­Dutchman ­Clemens Westerhof without him lifting a finger as a Bafana Bafana coach.

Westerhof claimed at the time that he had been promised the job of coach to the senior national team and had even entered into an agreement with Safa. He initially demanded R5.4 million for breach of contract.

Shakes Mashaba also got a ­settlement of R2.3 million after he was fired midway into his contract as Bafana coach in 2004.

Attempts to reach Zondo were in vain as he did not answer calls or respond to SMSs sent to him since Tuesday.

However, speaking on condition of ­anonymity, a highly placed source within Safa told City Press: “Poor performance has made Safa lose its confidence in him (Zondo), but this meant it would have to pay him out for the remainder of his four-year contract if they were to get rid of him completely.

“His sacking was purely based on performance and nine losses and one win in his 10 matches in charge cost him the job.

“Worse, he kept the nation in the dark ­regarding the route he was taking with the Under-20s.”

After being shunted from pillar to post, we eventually got a ­comment from acting chief ­executive Pinky ­Lehoko, who said ­Zondo had been redeployed with immediate effect to beef up Safa’s ­proposed move to licence the ­academies.

“We had a meeting with him where it was outlined that he will assist the association with its ­proposed project of licensing the academies. He has received a ­letter to this effect,” Lehoko said.

Maqsood Chenia was this week named as Zondo’s successor, while Under-17s coach Solly ­Luvhengo will be his assistant.

It is history now that Amajita were eliminated by Lesotho in the qualifiers but the South ­Africans have been given a second chance by virtue of hosting the April 17 to May 1 African Youth Championships, replacing Libya, who are currently beset by political unrest.

South Africa are in Group A with Lesotho, Mali and Egypt.

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