What Now, SAFA?

Forget anything I predicted or even said about the 2014 African Nations Championship.  South Africa’s elimination at the first hurdle is one that some are saying they saw coming all along.  It is just another nail in the Bafana Bafana coffin.  Fans have become used to the perennial disappointment dished up by the national football team and that is just not right.

So, who do you blame?  Well in football it is usually the coach’s fault and this is not unique to our country.  Okay so let us say the blame is solely at the door of Gordon Igesund and he must depart from this poisoned chalice of a job.  Who replaces him?

Is it Igesund’s fault his players lack the ability to go toe-to-toe with the continent’s best?  Not to mention the absence of any heart, courage, fight, killer instinct or big match temperament by any of these players.  In my opinion the South African Football Association (SAFA) is to blame for squandering money rather than investing in development.  It is not Igesund’s job to develop at senior level.

However for the purposes of this column let us assume SAFA do show Igesund the door.  An international coach is out of the question.  This is a tried and failed formula so we can only look to the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Steve Komphela has just taken up a job with Maritzburg United so I cannot see him being lured to SAFA House.  I have no doubt Komphela’s time will come.  Gavin Hunt is also a man touted for the top job but is also only some six months in to a new post at BidVest Wits.  It should be noted that Hunt has previously stated he believes the national team job is one for an older man.  Cavin Johnson is another man who is in a new job (SuperSport United) and the former Platinum Stars coach still needs to develop more of a reputation.  His successor at Dikwena also lacks in the PSL reputation department although Alan Freese is very quickly racking up an impressive collection of trophies.  The likes of Clive Barker, Pitso Mosimane, Zeca Marques and Roger De Sa are definite non-starters.

The reality then is that unless SAFA are willing to buy Hunt or Komphela out of their contracts, where would they turn to?  Inside their own ranks perhaps?  Serame Letsoake and Shakes Mashaba would then become contenders but I think the pair prefer their respective technical advisor and youth team roles better all things considered.

To my mind it appears SAFA have chopped and changed so much over the years that the reality is that they have nowhere to turn to in yet another time of crisis.  I would stick with Igesund for the upcoming 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and make it clear that another failure would be fatal.  By then Igesund would have either turned things around sufficiently in his favour or Komphela or Hunt could have further enhanced their reputations.