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Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane will earn millions – for being sacked.
While the settlement figure to be paid out to Mosimane has not been disclosed by the SA Football Association following his axing just after midnight last night, the former coach had another two years on his contract and earned an estimated R800 000 to R1 million a month, meaning that his payout could run as high as R20m.
After a day of marathon deliberations which started at 9am – first at a special Safa “emergency committee” meeting called to deal with the coaching crisis and then between a Safa delegation and Mosimane – Bafana Bafana players were called into a room in the team hotel just after midnight where Mosimane was allowed to formally bid them farewell.
Soon afterwards Mosimane was seen leaving the Royal Marang hotel without his trademark Bafana team kit. A team official was seen pushing a trolley with his bags to his sleek white Mercedes, as he took his final walk out of the national camp.
Mosimane was given his marching orders by two Safa heavyweights sent to negotiate with him – vice-president Mwelo Nonkonyana and chief executive Robin Petersen.
Just before 1am Safa released a statement calling Mosimane’s departure two years before the end of his contract “amicable”.
It was anything but. Nonkonyana and Petersen arrived at the team hotel in separate cars just after 7pm but it was not before midnight after a five-hour bout of wrangling that Mosimane’s firing was confirmed.
It is understood the main sticking point was the coach’s compensation, and they haggled over a settlement deal speculated to be in the region of R20m.
Safa’s communications head Dominic Chimhavi declined to confirm whether reports of the massive sum were true this morning, saying that the reason for the lengthy meeting was specifically to find some kind of middle ground in negotiating the termination of his contract.
The national soccer team’s recent weak performances and a poorly attended World Cup qualifier on Sunday sealed Mosimane’s fate.
The Safa statement revealed that Free State Stars head coach, and assistant Bafana coach Steve Khompela, would take over as caretaker coach for the team’s 2014 World Cup qualifier fixture against Botswana this coming Saturday, while a decision on who would take over permanently was decided. This would be decided before Bafana’s next game after that, in September.
Petersen denied Safa had approached Gordon Igesund, the Moroka Swallows coach, as a possible replacement but he has been tipped as Mosimane’s likely successor.
Safa President Kirsten Nematandani thanked Mosimane for his work with the squad. “This Association wants to place on record that Mr Mosimane is the only coach that has assisted Safa by donating a portion of his salary in the pursuit of the development agenda of the association”, he said. This included assisting ex-professional football players to attend coaching courses.