S'Busiso Mseleku

Will SAFA ever get it right?

2017-03-06 15:25
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

Speculation went into overdrive this weekend regarding who will be announced as the new Bafana Bafana coach this week.

As one went through the Sunday publications, it was obvious that the same old story of "who is your source within SAFA" was replaying itself once more.

One newspaper proudly proclaimed that the name that will emerge from the envelope when the SAFA suits reveal the favoured candidate would be that of Mozambican-born Carlos Queiroz. It even reminded us - as if we didn’t know - that the former Manchester United assistant manager and Iran national coach will be coming for his second stint.

However, two other publications stated categorically that Queiroz was out of the running due to his ongoing legal battle with the Iran Football Association, whose national team he guided to their first ever Soccer World Cup in Brazil last year.

The two newspapers stated that there were now only two frontrunners: Herve Renard who helped Zambia to their first ever Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy in 2012 and went on to guide Ivory Coast to their first AFCON; and Hugo Broos who has just bagged the continental cup with an under-strength Cameroon.

To be honest, I wouldn’t have any qualms with any of the above mentioned trio bagging the coveted, albeit poison chaliced job. They are all suitably qualified.

My beef is with the way that SAFA has handled the whole thing from the appointment of one Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba to where we are now where we find ourselves about to announce a new coach while there is an ongoing case at the CCMA.

This should have been handled much better from the onset. SAFA should not have given Mashaba such a shady mandate from the beginning: to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 AFCONs as well as the 2018 Soccer World Cup.

It should have been taken one event at a time. Had this been the case, Mashaba would have been fired once he failed to qualify Bafana Bafana for the 2017 shindig. And the country would have been saved this unpalatable situation it finds itself in right now.

Going forward, SAFA must have a clear-cut mandate for the coach and set some stringent mandates. As I have mentioned for many years, with the facilities South Africa has, it should no longer be negotiable whether we qualify for an AFCON tournament.

It should be a given.

The mandate should be to reach the last four or even win the darn thing! The year 1996 when Bafana last won the AFCON is now ages ago.

Also, this flip-flopping between local and foreign coaches must come to an end.

Even this time around, Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt wasn't among the last five of those short-listed.

I will say again at the risk of being guillotined, I don’t think there is currently a local coach who can take our national team to the next level.

So foreign is the route to go right now, but we also need to do our best to develop our own coaches to be among the best in the world.

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 over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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