JOHANNESBURG - With the SA Football Association acting swiftly to suspend and subsequently fire Shakes Mashaba as Bafana Bafana coach in December following his ill-timed outburst minutes after the national team beat Senegal 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, you’d think his replacement would have settled in by now.
Safa have instead showed gross incompetence, shifted the poles as far as the deadline for the announcement is concerned and have failed in any efforts to be transparent. Here, Mazola Molefe chronicles the mickey mouse process of finding the next Bafana coach.
Dec 22: Two days before Christmas, Safa confirm in a statement that Mashaba has been sent packing following a lengthy disciplinary hearing, in which the coach was found guilty of gross misconduct, insubordination and violating the association’s communication policy.
Jan 8: Carlos Queiroz becomes the first coach to be linked to the vacant Bafana post, a position he previously held from 2000 to 2002, after he quits as Iran mentor. Meanwhile, Mashaba’s lawyer reveals that the axed coach will be taking Safa to the CCMA and wants to be reinstated.
Feb 11: Safa outlines a criteria to be used to headhunt the next Bafana coach and they also announce that Mashaba’s successor will be appointed at the end of the month. Queiroz and Herve Renard emerge as front-runners.
Feb 16: A search committee tasked with drawing up a shortlist of suitable candidates for the Bafana job is named, and includes Benni McCarthy, Lucas Radebe, Neil Tovey, Clive Barker and Farouk Khan.
Feb 21: Dennis Mumble, the Safa chief executive, tells reporters during Fifa president Gianni Infantino’s visit to SA that the search committee has narrowed the list of candidates from 61 down to just five. He maintains that an announcement will be made before the end of the month although there’s been no contact with any of the five coaches.
Feb 28: Safa decide on Queiroz as first choice, but hit a roadblock when Iran slap their preferred candidate with a €7-million resignation clause, leaving Herve Renard, as well as outsider Hugo Broos, as favourites.
March 3: In less than 140 characters on Twitter, Safa move to postpone the announcement of the coach to the following week. Deadline is missed.
March 6: While in Zambia to watch the SA under-20 in the Youth Africa Cup of Nations, Safa president Danny Jordaan tells reporters he is putting final touches on concluding talks with the next Bafana coach. He meets with Renard, but is put off by the Frenchman’s demands, which includes a backroom staff of his choice and a salary package that is way more than the R500 000 a month Mashaba was earning.
March 9: Finally, we have a press conference invitation, but wait, it has nothing to do with a Bafana coach. Owen da Gama, who was appointed interim coach when Mashaba was initially suspended in November, names a 25-man squad to face Guinea-Bissau and Angola in friendly matches later that month. Da Gama confirms he, not a new coach, will be in charge of those two games.
March 12: In a lame attempt at transparency, Jordaan discloses he’d also spoken directly to Broos about the Bafana job after the Belgian’s agent wanted 20 percent of the coach’s annual salary. Even after that big revelation, no appointment is made and speculations goes into overdrive.
March 20: Bafana squad assembles for friendly games.
March 26: Jordaan is again asked about developments in the hunt for a coach after Bafana beat Guinea-Bissau 3-1 in Durban, and the Safa president vows to unveil someone “soon after the Angola match”. But this turns out to be yet another empty promise.
March 30: SuperSport United release a statement confirming their coach Stuart Baxter has been given permission to speak to Safa about the unoccupied Bafana job, making the Scot the fourth candidate to be approached.
April 2: Reports suggest Safa and Baxter can’t reach an agreement because the coach wants his son to be the Bafana goalkeeper coach as part of the deal, with both parties deny.
April 6: Jordaan and Safa spokesman Dominic Chimhavi are quoted saying “it is finalised” in reference to hiring a coach. But days later there is still no announcement.
April 7: Mumble says Baxter is not the only candidate.
April 13: Baxter says he is continuing with his work at SuperSport and trying not to be affected by the Bafana saga after his side is trounced 5-0 by rivals Mamelodi Sundowns in the Tshwane derby league clash.
It’s simple, really…
What do Algeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana have in common? These three national teams have already appointed coaches having had to go on the hunt for one immediately following the conclusion of the Africa Cup of Nations in February.
On January 24, Georges Leekens resigned after Algeria were eliminated in the group stages of the Afcon and his replacement, Lucas Alcaraz, was hired last week. Michel Dussuyer also quit with Ivory Coast having suffered a similar fate as that of Algeria, and the West Africans didn’t waste time finding his successor.
Marc Wilmots may have been an unexpected choice when he was handed the job on March 21, but his employers hardly delayed the process.
And perhaps the most transparent of procedures took place in Ghana, where Kwesi Appiah returned for a second stint as coach of the Black Stars on April 4.
Despite reaching the semifinals of the Afcon, Ghana did not renew Avram Grant’s contract and began an interview process where journalist were privy to every step until Appiah was named coach.