New Bafana coach Pitso prepared to crack the whip

Newly-appointed Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane has vowed to make some unpopular changes

to the team and some might read this to mean an end to captain Aaron ­Mokoena’s

era.

While Mosimane was non-committal about Mokoena’s position, saying

he would outline his plans next week, many will remember Mosimane and Ted

Dumitru as the ­caretaker coaches who stripped Mokoena of the captain’s armband

and gave it to Sibusiso Zuma in 2006 before the Africa Cup of ­Nations in

Egypt.

Mokoena, who has more than 100 Bafana caps, has come under severe

criticism for his performance and has been singled out as the weak link at the

heart of Bafana defence.

Bongani Khumalo has been touted as the next Bafana skipper, while

others mention Steven Pienaar as Mokoena’s possible replacement.

Other players who could be moved to make way for youngsters are

Surprise Moriri, Matthew Booth, Macbeth Sibaya and Siyabonga Nomvethe.

But Mosimane was adamant that he would make changes only in the

interests of the country, quickly pointing out that they would not be wholesale

ones.

“I will not hesitate to make relevant changes where necessary in

the interests of football.

“This job is about taking tough decisions that may not be popular

in certain instances, but I will not hesitate to make such decisions,” said

Mosimane.

“I want the country to know I have not arrived to throw everything

upside down or out of the window. I will also listen carefully and communicate

effectively.”

His desire to continue working with Brazilians Jairo Leal and

Francisco Gonzalez seems to be on course to be granted.

National Under-23 coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba will also be

seconded to the senior national team as an assistant, according to technical

committee chairperson Fanyana Sibanyoni.

Mosimane has taken up a four-year performance-related

contract.

Some of his mandates are to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of

Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea; the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and to

synergise a national programme across all teams.

“It is critical that we qualify for the Nations Cup and the World

Cup and I am glad that the coach understands the mandate from the people of

South Africa,” said Safa CEO ­Leslie Sedibe.

Mosimane’s first assignment will be against African giants Ghana’s

Black Stars on April 11 at Soccer City. And then the team takes on Niger in the

opening fixture of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in September at Mbombela

Stadium.

 
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