Safa boss: Coach not at fault

2009-10-15 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Safa president Kirsten Nematandani has refused to put the blame on under-fire coach Joel Santana for Bafana Bafana’s bad run.

Bafana’s 1-0 defeat to Iceland on Tuesday night was their eighth defeat in nine games, but Nematandani said that the nation needs to be “rational” before firing the tactician and questions whether we have the right players to represent the country.

“Post 1995, have we had a [club] team winning the continent’s Champions League? I think we need to treat the real cause of this challenge and not the symptoms. You can fire the coach today and you will have the same challenge two weeks down the line,” he said.

“We are one of the top leagues in the world. But that’s in terms of the money, not the play. Money doesn’t play.”

Despite Bafana’s bad run, Santana is staying put as far as Nematandani is concerned.

“That’s our understanding. We hired the three assessors [former Bafana coaches Jomo Sono and Clive Barker and SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt] to help us deal with this challenge. I’m not qualified to do that. We are not winning, but we need to look at this situation holistically. We must not misuse our position as Safa,” he added.

The newly-appointed president then reverted back to the issue of the quality of players we have at our disposal.

“Who plays in the field? The players! But I won’t just single out players as the root cause of this challenge we have, because it is a combination of a lot of things.

“We have hired the three assessors and we will allow them to do their job and we will take it from there,” said Nematandani.

When put to him that perhaps the nation should put the blame on those who hired Santana, Nematandani was tactful in his response. The Brazilian had coached 26 teams in 27 years — none of which were an international outfit — before taking over at the Bafana helm.

“I’m not going to judge anyone. We’ve inherited a situation and we are going to try to understand it, that’s why we hired the assessors,” the Safa boss concluded.


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