Pitso unveiled as Bafana coach

2010-07-16 00:00

AFTER a long apprenticeship that involved being the Bafana Bafana assistant coach for a cumulative four years, Pitso Mosimane was yesterday announced as head coach and said he has the tools to take the national team forward.

Mosimane was appointed on a four-year contract that will take him to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, though with performance stipulations involving the World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifiers for Mali and Benin in 2012.

The new head coach’s contract with the SA Football Association (Safa) is reported to be significantly less than the R1,8 million a month paid to Brazilian predecessor Carlos Alberto Parreira, though also significantly greater than any other South African who has held the job.

Mosimane was an assistant coach to Ted Dumitru at the African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt in 2006.

He was assistant to Parreira from 2007 until the World Cup, sandwiched by a stint assisting Joel Santana, including at the 2009 Confederations Cup.

On Santana’s exit in November 2009 Mosimane’s name was mentioned for the head coaching job, though he indicated he was not yet ready for the task.

Mosimane’s statement yesterday ended: “I am ready! I have the energy for the long haul!”

Mosimane was also caretaker-coach of Bafana in 2006, winning three of seven games, drawing three and losing one.

He established himself as a coach by winning a number of cup trophies with SuperSport United.

A lethal striker, whose exploits for Jomo Cosmos and Mamelodi Sundowns saw him become one of the few South Africans to break into European football during sporting isolation, Mosimane played six seasons for Ionikos in Greece, and earned four Bafana caps at the tail-end of his career, scoring once.

Mosimane’s appointment represents the beginning of a new era for Bafana, though also continuity from a World Cup where the hosts exited in the first round, but drew against Mexico and beat France.

The new coach has recommended that his co-assistant under Parreira, Jairo Leal, and fitness trainer Francisco Gonzalez be retained.

A South African assistant will also be appointed.

Mosimane’s first task will be to take on World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana in a friendly at National Stadium (formerly known as Soccer City) on August 11.

Bafana begin their Nations Cup qualifying campaign at home against Niger in early September, play Sierra Leone away in October and Africa’s No.1-ranked team, Egypt, at home in November. South Africa meet a big-name team in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge on November 17.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said the association will give Mosimane all their backing.

“Our latest improvement on the Fifa world rankings [from 83rd to 66th] is an indication of the progress made, hence our decision to continue with the technical team that understand the significance of completing the long journey that we have started,” Nematandani said.

For Mosimane the challenge is to maintain, build on, and learn from the mistakes of Bafana’s World Cup campaign, continue the team’s growth in confidence and in so doing carry forward the support the national team received ahead of and during the World Cup.

“I will always try to remember that I should treat the challenges I face not as stumbling blocks, but as stepping stones,” the new coach said. “With your help they will be stepping stones to more success to our country and to all of us.

“Of course, I did not receive this promotion because of uncertainty, but because of extensive knowledge and understanding of the local and international game of football.

“I have come to add value and creativity; in doing so it is my vision to take Bafana to a higher level on the journey to the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

“… I agree that at some stage I may make an error or two; if that is the case I believe I have the grace and wisdom to accept it, correct it and learn from it.”

Mosimane said he gained experience working under Parreira.

“I would like to thank coach Parreira for all the mentoring and the confidence he has shown in me. … He shared with me all the knowledge he has gathered over many years of his coaching career unconditionally.”

He added: “To those who do not believe in my ability, I would like to ask that you give me time to prove my ability.”

Mosimane was appointed following a two-week period where he was assessed by Safa’s technical committee, to whom he presented his four-year plan for Bafana.

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