Bafana Bafana

Igesund refuses to speculate

2014-05-30 23:00
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Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)

Auckland - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund would not speculate on Friday about his future as the national coach until a final decision had been made by SAFA.

Igesund, 57, was responding to an article in The Star newspaper on Friday, according to which Iran's national coach Carlos Queiroz would be named the new national coach as early as Saturday.

"Let me make it very simple. I can’t answer anything that’s speculation in the newspapers, number one," Igesund said following his side’s goalless draw with New Zealand in Auckland on Friday.

"The reporter is writing a story... there’s nobody that he quotes (in the article).

"Number two, it’s been like this for the last two years.

"I knew my contract was coming to an end in August."

The South African Football Association (SAFA) is holding a national executive meeting at its headquarters in Johannesburg on Saturday, where Igesund's future is reportedly on the agenda.

The Star reported Queiroz’s appointment was a foregone conclusion, having finalised his contract last month.

Igesund said the decision lay entirely with the NEC.

He had not yet received any communication on the subject.

"There’s been no talk about my contract or whether I’m staying or whether I’m going.

"On the 31st of August, my contract ends.

"Now SAFA have got to make a decision."

Igesund failed in his mandate to reach the semi-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Bafana exited the Afcon tournament at the quarterfinal stage and did not book a spot at the World Cup.

This was despite Igesund managing to win three out of four of his qualifying matches since his tenure began in 2012.

Other names have since been bandied about in the media, including current South African under-20 and under-23 coach Shakes Mashaba.

The NEC, however, will be keen to keep Mashaba where he is, thanks to some promising results within those two teams. Mashaba has been tasked with keeping the junior teams ticking over and moving towards positive development for the future.

Queiroz, who was in charge of Bafana between 2000 and 2002, and who is taking Iran to the World Cup, is rumoured to be the favourite for the job.

His exorbitant salary demands could prove a serious hindrance in getting the 61-year-old back to South Africa.

The third name to be touted was Stephen Keshi, the current Nigeria coach.

He became the first local to guide the Super Eagles to a cup success, lifting the AFCON title in 2013.

Keshi has proven credentials when it comes to the African continent and is respected for his ability to get the best out of a national team, often with limited resources.

Keshi has repeatedly hinted at a move away from the Nigerian team and has publicly revealed that the Nigerian Football Federation had failed to pay him his salary.

A move to South Africa would be a lucrative deal for the former player and the offers said to be tabled could be the biggest attraction for Keshi, who would become one of the highest paid national coaches on the continent.

Igesund said he was unconcerned about the reports as he had done nothing untoward and was still contracted to SAFA.

"If they’ve spoken to Carlos Queiroz, or if they’ve spoken to Keshi, then they will let me know.

"It’s as simple as that.

"There’s nothing in between.

"It’s not a matter of being fired.

"It’s a matter of whether the contract is getting renewed or not getting renewed."

Earlier this week, SAFA president Danny Jordaan said Saturday’s NEC meeting would make recommendations about the Bafana job.

The coach would immediately have to start planning for the 2015 AFCON qualifiers, which get underway in September.

"We have the pressure of time. We are starting the journey for Bafana Bafana’s qualification for Morocco 2015 and it’s a very tight program," Jordaan said in Sydney on Monday.

"We play two matches in September, and then we play (two) in October and two in November.

"It’s back-to-back fixtures and therefore we must get the coach in place.

"As soon as Gordon is back, we’ll be able to make the announcement around these matters.

"Either the current coach or the new coach must hit the ground running."

Whatever, the outcome, the draw against a lowly 111-ranked New Zealand was Igesund's last game in charge on his current contract, bringing an end to a two-year stint.

He has overseen 31 games in charge since 2012.

Read more on:    safa  |  bafana bafana  |  gordon igesund  |  soccer
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