Mosimane opens up on calls for him to return to Bafana

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane

Pitso Mosimane has refused to entertain suggestions that he could be the ideal candidate to fill the Bafana Bafana coaching post that has been left vacant by Stuart Baxter.

Instead, Mosimane highly recommends that the likes of Bidvest Wits’ Gavin Hunt and Benni McCarthy of Cape Town City be given a shot at the plum job.

Baxter confirmed his resignation on Friday amid pressure from the public – that he was not the right man to take Bafana forward despite guiding the team to the quarterfinals of the just-concluded Afcon in Egypt.

In contrast, Mosimane never really had a memorable stint with Bafana when he was at the helm between August 2010 and June 2012 but his recent success with Mamelodi Sundowns in the CAF Champions League has prompted calls for the 55-year-old to consider a return to the national team fold.

“I am happy to be here [at Sundowns],” responded Mosimane to a City Press question at a post-match conference of Sundowns’ 2-0 Absa Premiership win over SuperSport United in Atteridgevile on Saturday.

“Maybe we should follow what Senegal and Algeria did [coached by their former players Aliou Cisse and Djamel Belmadi, respectively] – they stayed with their own coaches and they were patient.

“[There is] Benni, Steve Komphela, Gavin Hunt… I mean Gavin has been asking for a chance and I think we should also give him a chance.

“Benni has got a good name – like Cisse and the coach of Algeria [Belmadi]. He played football in Europe, and he is a big name in the country. We should probably follow that route – he [McCarthy] wants it because [Cape Town City owner John] Comitis said he can release him if he wants [to leave].

“Probably when you have Benni put the right people around him to help him and be patient South Africa.”

When pressed if he would be keen for another spell, Mosimane said: “Probably if I have to help and find the coach as [part of a] collective, we should help because in 18 months we are playing in the World Cup [qualifiers]. We must have a team for the World Cup [in Qatar in 2022], they must qualify.

He continued: “I have a contract that I have to honour. I never broke any contract. The only contract that I did not finish was at SuperSport United because they said ‘coach you got to be part of the World Cup’.

“Remember I cried when SuperSport said I must go to Bafana. It was unbelievable – so why should I leave this team? It’s a team I love – I was seven years there.

“But on the other hand when I looked at it, we were playing CAF Champions League all the time and that’s what I loved.

“But there [at national team level] you can’t … I mean I’ve played against Spain, Portugal, Germany, Colombia – more than unbelievable experience that I got from there and it has helped me to be where I am. And I am thankful to Safa for that.”

“I had time even to educate myself because there’s no game every week. Somebody must learn and benefit from that. So that’s where I want to end.”

Mosimane made references of “things that are there” as a warning of challenges previous coaches endured while in charge, without really elaborating.

“How it’s channelled, Stuart gave you the reasons that there are things that are there,” said the normally outspoken Mosimane.

Baxter said at a press conference to announce his resignation that part of his departure was that he could not “continue with the required professionalism and passion … and to deal with the many issues that will be involved with the [Bafana] programme”.

“A coach must have confidence that his input will help forward the project. And at this moment in time‚ and particularly after the experience of Afcon‚ my belief in that process is weakened considerably,” said Baxter on Friday, who also made it known that the team’s preparations for Afcon were compromised.

Continued Mosimane: “It’s a difficult one – everybody has got their own challenges. Stuart was there, Carlos Quieroz was there – he couldn’t sort this thing out [and] he ends up being a coach of Real Madrid from Bafana. It’s unbelievable. Carlos Parreira was here – he won the World Cup so many times... It’s a difficult one.”

Mosimane maintained that Bafana have the potential to be in the top five in the continent.

“We did well in terms of results at the Afcon [in Egypt]. If we can beat Egypt and Nigeria away, we’ve got the potential.”

Mosimane said Molefi Ntseki’s confirmation as the interim was a good move by Safa.

“It’s not about the big name but a coach to make the team play. It’s good progression for Bafana.”

• Read more on the Bafana coaching story in City Press newspaper on Sunday

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