S'Busiso Mseleku

No repeat of Pitso-like error

2012-06-06 10:36
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
One hopes that the South African Football Association (SAFA) has learnt their lesson and they will avoid repeating the seriously expensive mistake they made when hiring Pitso Mosimane. This mistake is set to cost SAFA just under R20 million.

It is said that the underperforming Mosimane was on R800 000 per month. That would mean SAFA have so far forked out R9.6 million for his service, and they have to give Mosimane another R9.6 million to pay him out for the remaining two years of his contract.

That’s a lot of money to pay in any language for a coach whose record reads: Played 16, won six, drew seven, lost three and has failed to win in his last seven matches.

This is not the first time the suits tasked with being the custodians of the beautiful game in our country have had to pay through their noses.

In the 20 years since being accepted into international football in 1992, SAFA has had 14 coaches and out of those, Clive Barker, Phillippe Troussier, Carlos Quiros, Stuart Baxter, Shakes Mashaba and Joel Santana have had to be paid a lot of moola as their contracts were terminated before running the full course.

Oh! There was also one Clemens Westerhof. The Dutchman had to be paid without raising a sweat after one busy body from SAFA went and promised him a job without consulting the other bigwigs. Westerhof smiled all the way to the bank after a court of law ordered that he be paid some compensation for false promises.

What needs to happen now is for SAFA to come up with a solid strategy for Bafana to win matches while going for the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil.

The rumour mill has gone into overdrive with talk that SAFA will pick Gordon Igesund to replace Mosimane. This news should be received with mixed feelings. While Igesund has proved himself by winning no less than four domestic titles with different sides in South Africa, he is untested on the international front.

For a seriously ambitious nation - which I doubt that SAFA shares or have the know-how - the ideal situation would have been to rope in an experienced coach at the end of the 2010 World Cup. Failure to move beyond the opening round of the global spectacle would have been regarded as a disaster in any other country.

Under those circumstances, Mosimane’s failure to lead Bafana Bafana to the African Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea earlier this year, would have been rated as a tragedy. So, there were two major opportunities that were missed by SAFA.

Suffice to say these missed opportunities have landed the country where it is where the appointment of Steve Komphela as a caretaker coach and the eventual roping-in of Igesund - if it happens - will only serve as stop-gap measures.

An ideal situation would have been to appoint a well-suited coach at the end of the 2010 World Cup. For well-suited, read somebody who has not only qualified a country for the World Cup, but went on to do well at the event.

Senior national teams are not designed to develop players or decorate coaches CVs but they are meant for well-prepared talent, ready to hit the ground running and compete at the highest level.

To achieve at the international level, SAFA has to grasp that political correctness also has no place in achieving results.

Until SAFA starts treating Bafana as the jewel in the South African football crown, their position as a top brand will continue being eroded.

A lot needs to change going forward. Just a few pointers:

1. An individual who will take football leadership by the scruff of its neck (excuse the cliché) must now arise as cream to the top from the deadwood that is SAFA;
2. A clear-cut development programme starting from grass-roots up until Bafana must be IMPLEMENTED  as of yesterday;
3. Jobs for pals at SAFA and Bafana Bafana must be a thing of the past;
4. Players must be selected on merit and not on Braskaap;
5. Performance clauses must be instated not only on the coach’s contract but the entire technical staff and the players.

This past week’s disaster where Bafana huffed and puffed to a 1-all draw against a 138th-ranked Ethiopia has provided SAFA with a great opportunity to fix the “fine mess” that South African football finds itself in.

It is now opportune for them to avoid what Albert Einstein referred to as insanity when one does one and the same thing over and over again with a hope of getting a different result.

With proper planning and guidance, the situation can still be redeemed with the number of friendly matches remaining before the end of the year and next year’s African Cup of Nations finals being hosted here.

The new coach can still steer the ship around.

Let’s do it … it's doable!

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer


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