Bafana 'invisible' panel gone?
Johannesburg - Their appointment by SAFA in the first place was problematic and controversial - now, it would seem, Bafana Bafana's "invisible" assessor panel of Clive Barker, Jomo Sono and Gavin Hunt have effectively bitten the dust.
Barker, considered the doyen of South African coaches because of his achievement in guiding Bafana to their most notable and prestigious success in annexing the 1996 African Nations Cup, confirmed as much on Tuesday when he said "no one has really contacted us in months regarding our original mandate to review Bafana's progress towards the World Cup. "But, I suppose, that is the prerogative of SAFA and coach Carlos Alberto Parreira."
Barker revealed that the now-invisible trio had held an amiable meeting with Parreira soon after he returned to South Africa to resume his role as Bafana coach after fellow-Brazilian Joel Santana had effectively been eased out of the position.
"He outlined his World Cup plans," added Barker, "and explained how far down the road he had progressed. But all the time he was simply informing us what he was doing and not really seeking advice.
"And," admitted Barker, "I am not sure anyone of us would have adopted a different attitude had we been in Parreira's shoes."
Barker believes the role of the supposed three wise men might have been different had Santana remained in charge of Bafana.
"Maybe our appointment was simply a ploy to put pressure on him," said the current AmaZulu technical director, "or indirectly assist in his departure."
SAFA officials, in the meantime, said nothing had been done to terminate the role of Barker, Sono and SuperSport coach Hunt's role as Bafana assessors.
But, at the same time, there was no explanation for their inactivity during the past few months in this respect.
And for sure, a coach who has already won the World Cup as Parreira has, might be loathe to have a panel of assessors analysing and evaluating his every move.