Coaches ready to serve Bafana
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - All five coaches nominated by the SA Football Association (SAFA) as possibles to succeed Pitso Mosimane as the Bafana Bafana coach feel it is a duty to serve their country and are ready for the job if required.
Steve Komphela, who is acting in a caretaker capacity following the sudden sacking of Mosimane earlier in the week, Gordon Igesund, Gavin Hunt, Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba and Neil Tovey were all named as candidates by SAFA on Friday.
Moroka Swallows coach Igesund, the favourite of bookmakers and soccer fans after reviving the club in the past season, has an agreement to remain with the Birds for the minimum of another season.
And while Swallows chief executive Leon Prins said the club would do everything possible to keep him in the camp, the final decision would rest with Igesund himself.
"If he feels he must take the Bafana job if asked, we cannot be seen to be acting to the detriment of the national team," Prins said.
Ironically, a panel appointed by SAFA 10 years ago chose Igesund to be the Bafana coach, but the SAFA executive controversially over-turned the decision and appointed Trott Moloto instead.
Igesund has nonetheless informed SAFA that he is available for the post on the basis that the national body wants him and terms are agreed between the parties.
All five candidates for the top post will be interviewed by a SAFA committee this week and the national body has affirmed that a final choice will be made as a matter of urgency.
SuperSport United coach Hunt, who previously guided them to three successive Premier League titles, confirmed that he was under contract with the club.
"But there is a clause in the contract stating that I can ask to be released if I am needed to take over one of the national teams," Hunt said.
"I'd hate to leave SuperSport, because they have been very good to me.
"I have had such a good relationship with the club, but you simply can't say no to being the national coach if you are asked."
Komphela has been highly praised for his achievements with Free State Stars this season and had already been appointed by SAFA as an assistant to Mosimane.
He has an agreement to continue coaching Free State Stars as well, while in an assitant Bafana role, but he has intimated similar sentiments to Hunt in that "you cannot say no to the country".
Mashaba, for his part, has coached Bafana in the past with some success and is currently employed by SAFA, in any case, as the head of the national Under-23 team.
Tovey, a former Bafana captain, is considered an outsider in the race.
He is presently with First Division club Thanda Zulu Royal, who are seeking promotion to the Premier League.