Carlos Queiroz has bolted out of the Bafana Bafana coaching race.
The Mozambique-born mentor was a hot favourite to succeed Ephraim Shakes Mashaba in the Bafana hot seat.
However, City Press can today reveal that Queiroz is no longer in the running for the vacant position.
A highly placed SA Football Association (Safa) source said the coach had contractual issues with Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran, where he is the head coach.
There were reports that he had resigned from his post, but apparently the federation is reluctant to let him go.
The Safa insider said Queiroz, who was the preferred candidate out of the five-man short list, had asked not to be considered any more because of the ongoing battle with his employer.
This week, Safa was forced to reschedule the naming of the coach to next week.
On Friday, the association issued a terse statement via its Twitter account, which said the new coach was not available for a press conference this week – when the announcement was expected to have been made.
“The naming of new @BafanaBafana coach has been postponed to next week as we need the coach available at the press conference!” the tweet read.
But City Press can reveal that there is no coach at the moment.
The selection panel had to be convened on Friday to go through the process again, following Queiroz’s U-turn.
“We have to go to plan B now because our first target is no longer available,” said the insider.
“We didn’t see this coming, but we have a few options up our sleeves.”
The source said Hervé Renard and Hugo Broos were now in the picture.
He also said Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt and former Orlando Pirates mentor Ruud Krol should not be ignored.
“Now that Hervé is available after he resigned from Morocco, his name is in the hat and we will now engage all of them and see if we meet their financial demands,”
said the insider.
After leading Cameroon to the Africa Cup of Nations championship in Gabon last month, Broos is seen as the dark horse if Renard is not available.
Renard has also been linked with the Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast national teams.
It is unclear if he resigned from his post as Morocco national team coach before or after the team’s assistant coach, Mustapha Hadji, insisted that Renard was not leaving the Atlas Lions.
The selection panel is racing against the clock to get their man in place before the end of the month for Bafana’s friendly games.
Safa has lined up two matches for Bafana – against Angola in Durban and Guinea-Bissau in Bloemfontein.