SAFA Keeping Us In Suspense
The South African Football Association has kept the country in suspense regarding the appointment of the new senior national team coach’s appointment.
A number of names have been linked to the hot seat formerly occupied by coach Shakes Mashaba, who was fired in December following a disciplinary hearing against the stubborn and temperamental former Orlando Pirates team manager. The 64-year-old bowed out on a high as he beat Senegal 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in his last game in charge of the national team. On paper, Mashaba looked to be on course to fulfil his mandate of securing a place in the 2018 Russia World Cup, as he finished his term with Bafana Bafana joint-leaders with Burkina Faso on four points after two matches.
Mashaba’s tenure was marred by controversy. If he wasn’t at loggerheads with the media, trying to dictate how the fourth estate should do their job, he wasn’t on speaking terms with certain overseas-based players or battling with his bosses at SAFA House for what he termed ‘lack of support’. His failure to qualify for the ongoing AFCON in Gabon still haunts him to this day. The last straw was when Mashaba let his dissatisfaction known by lashing out at everyone who cared to listen, especially SAFA bosses and the media after beating Senegal in Polokwane on November 12. He accused his bosses of not supporting him, giving credence to rumours that he was never the association’s first choice in the first place. SAFA moved swiftly to suspend Mashaba, pending a disciplinary hearing, which has since ruled against the coach.
Mashaba, who still had a year to run on his contract, isn’t taking his axing lying down, as he’s taken the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) trying to get reinstated back to his job or compensated. However, SAFA believe they have a watertight case against him and therefore have nothing to worry about.
Now, if that’s the case, how come we haven’t heard any announcement from the mother body? The last piece of information from the SAFA official website, titled, “Update on search for new Bafana Bafana head coach,” posted on January 11 at 19h07, reads, in part, “As promised, the Association will convene a meeting of the SAFA Technical Committee next week to discuss the search for a new Head Coach. The meeting will develop proposed principles of engagement for a new Head Coach, including defining an updated mandate and other requirements for presentation to the SAFA National Executive Committee. The President of the Association, Dr Danny Jordaan, visited Zurich, Switzerland to attend the inaugural FIFA Best Awards and has since left for Gabon to fulfil a CAF assignment at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Final Tournament. Whilst in Zurich, Dr Jordaan met with old friends and acquaintances, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Diego Maradonna (sic), Frank Rijkaard, Lucas Radebe and others who made the 2010 FIFA World Cup such a memorable event. It bears noting that none of these meetings were to discuss the vacant Bafana Bafana coaching job! Dr Jordaan is currently on CAF duty in Gabon as a Member of the AFCON Organising Committee and will return to South Africa to address the coaching matter with the CEO and the SAFA Technical Committee next week.”
Confused? Join the club!
While the media has been on overdrive trying to figure out who will succeed Mashaba, the association’s CEO, Denis Mumble, has been busy trolling the media on his Facebook page, making a mockery of the reports linking different coaches to the hotseat. Instead of keeping the public updated on the situation, it looks like the easiest way out is to rubbish reports that wouldn’t even exist if the association took it upon themselves to keep the public updated.
For as long as “next week’s” much-anticipated meeting between the SAFA president, the CEO and the technical committee, takes place and pronouncements made, the media will continue to dig for answers and follow every lead that comes their way. It is only our duty and responsibility to look for the answers.
The association needs to prioritise the coaching situation and stop keeping us in suspense.
The 2017 AFCON is finally reaching boiling point, with four teams remaining. To say this bi-annual tournament hasn’t lived up to expectations would be an understatement. Some of the pitches were in such a poor state that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re watching amateur league matches. Afcon Best Player in 2013, Jonathan Pitroipa, is one of the players whose AFCON 2017 was short-lived due to bad pitch conditions. CAF needs to take better care of the most important people in these tournaments – the players – so that these injuries are avoided. Little wonder some of these European teams are against the idea of losing their players to their respective AFCON teams, as there is a higher risk of them getting injured and the team having to bear the burden of helping the player to recover.
Congratulations to the PSL and SuperSport TV’s 10-year anniversary. The two institutions’ partnership has taken our game to the next level. Here’s to wishing them even more anniversaries to come!