Santana divides Safa brass

2009-10-18 12:05

BAFANA Bafana coach Joel ­Santana has caused divergent views within

the South African Football Association (Safa) leadership.

His poor performance has become such a focal point that the Safa

leadership took a decision on Thursday that new president Kirsten ­Nematandani

should be the only one to comment on the issue.

On the same day, however, Safa CEO Raymond Hack reportedly called

Santana and his technical team to his office on their return from their defeats

to Norway and Iceland to assure them not to panic as their jobs were


Hack is said to have given a TV interview on the same day, saying

Santana would not lose his job.

All these are expected to come up at a highly anticipated Safa

management committee meeting tomorrow, where Hack has been asked to furnish the

members with all technical staff members’ contracts, his contract as CEO and all

the sponsorship contracts.

Members of the management committee are Nematandani, the three

vice-presidents, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, Mandla Mazibuko, PSL chairman Irvin

Khoza, national executive committee member ­Alpha Mchunu, SA 2010 Fifa World Cup

Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan and Hack.

At the meeting, Nonkonyana, who was the head of the Bafana

delegation for the two matches, will present his report.

A report by the three assessors, Jomo Sono, Clive Barker and Gavin

Hunt, will also be presented.

“We will ask one of them to take us through it for guidance,” said


On Santana, he said: “We can’t just fire him without even studying

his contract.”

Nonkonyana said: “The latest rankings put more pressure on the


Bafana Bafana are 85th in the world and 17th in Africa in the

latest Fifa rankings, released on ­Friday. Mozambique are 84th and 16th

respectively while Uganda arel 77th globally and 14th on the continent.

“We are all not happy with the performance of the team, but we

should not take an emotional decision. A lot of things have not been done

correctly,” said Mazibuko.

Nonkonyana denied having spoken to former coach Carlos Alberto

Parreira as reported, but said: “At the moment he seems to be the only logical


Insiders say there is growing pressure for the new Safa leadership

to get rid of Santana.

There is, however, a section within the administration that feels

he must be given until after the two friendly matches against Japan and Jamaica

in November.

This is seen in some quarters as a ploy to ensure that he retains

his position until the World Cup, as there will be only one match left ­after


Bafana will play Chile away on March 3, and the feeling is that no

coach will be prepared to take over with only one match left to prepare for as

mammoth a task as the World Cup.

Players will only travel on March 1 for this match as the PSL has a

full programme on February 28.

This has been counted as one in a string of blunders committed by

Safa in Bafana’s preparation programme.

This week Mazibuko was scathing in his questioning of some of the

decisions, saying he could not understand why Bafana had not selected a training

base for the World Cup.

England have chosen Rustenburg and Ghana picked Nelspruit while

Brazil and Holland have opted for Bloemfontein and Johannesburg respectively.

Ivory Coast were this week checking facilities in Tshwane.

Mazibuko also questioned the wisdom of playing away matches in

countries like Iceland and Norway when most countries wanted to tour South

Africa ahead of the event.

Other thorny issues that will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting

will include the Cape Town Peace Cup and the turf battle between sponsors Absa

and Standard Bank.

“The Peace Cup’s sideshow in Norway was very embarrassing to the

association,” said Nonkonyana on the event being organised by the PSL which Safa

claims to know nothing about.

The sideshow he referred to was the draw that was held at the Nobel

Peace Centre and attended by ­Khoza, Kaizer Motaung and Mato Madlala, among


The tournament – for which the draw was held in Oslo last week – is

said to feature an Under-19 team from four PSL clubs, Orlando Pirates,

SuperSport, Ajax Cape Town and Santos, and visiting clubs Boca Juniors

(Argentina), Eintrecht Frankfurt (Germany), Chelsea (England) and Stabaek

(Norway). It is due to kick off on November 26 with the King and Queen of Norway

as the guests of honour.

Absa Bank, which has splashed out R250 million over five years to

sponsor Bafana, this week sent a letter to Safa complaining about Standard Bank

advertising boards that were displayed during the Bafana match against


The bank’s sponsorship consultant Stuart Masela said: “This is

ambush marketing and we are not happy about it. We have voiced our unhappiness

with Safa and are still awaiting answers.”

Standard Bank’s director, group sponsorship, Clement Motale, said

there was no conflict as they were aiming their campaign at a different market.

Nematandani acknowledged receipt of the letter and said the matter was part of

Tuesday’s agenda. On Tuesday the Safa leadership will meet with the

parliamentary portfolio committee on sport, while the PSL will hold a board of

governors’ meeting on Saturday.

Bafana are 85th in the world and 17th in Africa in the most

recently released Fifa rankings

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