Should SAFA just let Igesund go?

2013-10-15 09:47

Contrary to the headline I personal feel Gordon has done a relatively good job with Bafana Bafana and should definitely be retained as the national coach at least until 2014 when his contract is due to expire.

If SAFA is serious about uplifting South African football from the doldrums, then the first step is retaining the man who has been steadily working to achieve that task. Gordon inherited a woefully team, with failed structures and a losing mentality. In the 16 match rein of Pitso Mosimane as head coach the last of his 6 wins came 8 matches before he was fired. His predecessor had a record of 10 wins 3 draws and a massive 14 losses that’s a 52% of the matches played. Even though Gordon has a modest 44% win percentage, one has to look at the variables that lead to that percentage. In 8 competitive matches he won 4 lost 2 and drew 2 that’s a 10 points dropped out of a possible 24 points.

However it is a 50% win rate and only a 25% losing rate in competitive games and keeping in mind that one of those two loses was a quarterfinal penalty shootout against a team ranked 30 places above Bafana! We have seen a change in playing style under Igesund and have seen a steady albeit slow progress toward a national team that will be a major force in Africa and at least be competitive internationally.

It is therefore with a sad heart that I request Danny Jordaan to fire Igesund as I believe he is the man to move Bafana Bafana forward. He is definitely the best local coach that we have, his record speaks for itself. 15 months is not enough for even greatest of managers to turn a pathetic team to world beaters. Sir Alex Ferguson only won his first trophy the FA cup with Man United only after 3 years in charge and his first of his 13 titles EPL titles in his 7 year in charge. If one the greatest, if not the greatest manager had to be given time to succeed.

Why can't we give Gordon the time he needs to make Bafana a force to be reckoned with? I firmly believe that the national coach of any nation should be born of that nation. The same way we cannot have a foreigner as a President, the same principal should apply in managing the national team. There is a sense of pride, honor, nationalism that goes with the job and regardless how qualified and professional an applicant is, if they are not born of that nation then they cannot lead that nation. Hence why when I look at the South African coaching fraternity I see no manager who can replace Gordon as head coach and transcend the progress that he has achieved and is still to achieve!

Having said all that I have, I find it absurd that the newly appointed SAFA President is noncommittal when it comes to the issue of the national coach. He does not have to offer him an extended new bumper contract but should at least confirm publicly that Gordon will be in charge until his contract expires July next year. As failure to do so will hamper the national team's progress under Gordon, in that his working environment will not be conducive to obtain the required results.

Already we have seen that the uncertainty is getting to him, in his last few interviews his optimism has certainly subsided. Even though he is still the consummate professional in doing his job, one can't help but feel that he is close to losing his cool. Yesterday in an interview you could sense that he had lost his patience with SAFA's many voices. On the one side he has been assured of his place until the end of his contract and on the other the is talk of a mandate to win of make the final of CHAN.

This to and fro that is happening is counterproductive and is taking the national team backwards. If as the President has announced since his elections that SAFA will set up a committee and have conversations and build this grand plan that will propel South Africa to the top of football's echelons is to be taken seriously. Then surely providing a productive and stable environment for the man currently in charge, is a pre-requisite to ensuring than your grand plan starts of on a good note?

Whether Gordon is will be part of the "grand plan" or not, it hurts Bafana's own cause if his last months in charge are unproductive and filled with him having to defend himself publicly for the next 8 months. His time should be spent on taking the team as far as he can in order to lay a foundation for this grand plan and to help however will be charged with implementing this plan as best as he can.

Therefore as much as I believe that Gordon is the man to lead us forward, I firmly believe that if SAFA cannot afford him the environment the will be most conducive to him obtain the best results and progress in our quest to reclaim our glory. Then it is best that they relieve him of his duty and save us a painful 8 months of self-destruction!

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