Bafana exit door looms for Igesund

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Danny Jordaan gave the clearest indication yet that Gordon Igesund will no longer be Bafana coach when his contract expires. Photo by Steve Haag/Getty Images

Danny Jordaan yesterday gave the clearest indication yet that Gordon Igesund will no longer be Bafana Bafana coach when his contract expires at the end of June.

The SA Football Association president stopped short of confirming that they would be looking for a new coach once Igesund’s tenure is complete.

Yet, at the same time, Jordaan made a point of detailing the failures of Igesund’s reign, and the decline of the side since he took over in September 2012.

Bafana were hammered 5-0 by Brazil at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday night, the surprise being not that they lost to one of the favourites for the 2014 World Cup, but that they were so listless in defeat.

It was a far cry from the start of the coach’s tenure when Bafana put up a brave performance in losing 1-0 to the Selecao in Sao Paulo.

Thereafter Igesund got the side to the African Nations Cup quarter-finals, won three of his four World Cup qualifiers in charge, and beat Spain in a friendly in November.

But that does not seem to be enough for Safa, especially after this year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) debacle, followed by Wednesday night’s thrashing.

“If there is anything to learn from the match (on Wednesday),” said Jordaan, “it is that when we played Brazil in Sao Paulo… it was our current coach’s first match. It was also the third or fourth match for a new group of players in the Brazil team.

“The same (Bafana) players lost 1-0, and (on Wednesday) the same players, with the same coach, lost 5-0. One team is challenging to win the World Cup and one has failed to qualify for the World Cup. Those are our challenges.

“The coach’s contract will end in June, and then we will have to make an evaluation of the coach’s term and look at successors or otherwise. We failed to qualify at the Afcon, we failed to qualify for the World Cup.

“We will also look at other performances against teams where we won and lost. Then we will construct the road, post- Brazil, to Russia.”

Jordaan confirmed that Igesund would take charge of the side for the friendly against Australia in Sydney on May 26, and that this would be Bafana’s only friendly until after the World Cup is over.

Igesund seemed confused in his media conference after the Brazil game, suggesting that he would have to negotiate with clubs for the release of players for the Australia game. In fact, the game is on a Fifa date, and all players should be available.

The other issue facing Igesund is the Safa investigation into allegations that he encouraged his players to demand more money from the association ahead of Chan.

Jordaan confirmed yesterday that the findings of the probe, headed by Norman Arendse, were expected by mid-April.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula was gentler on Bafana after their 5-0 thrashing by Brazil, which included a Neymar hat-trick, after labelling them a “bunch of losers” following the Chan defeat to Nigeria.

“The fact that we can’t score goals is a disappointment, but it’s not the end of the road,” Mbalula said.

“To compare our team with Brazil is mixing apples with bananas. When we played them in Brazil, it was 1-0. Neymar and them were not in the last World Cup and they have gone for talent and built their national team.

“They have come back to South Africa and clobbered us 5-0. They have a team with a mission to win the World Cup,” he said.

“For us, (the match) was a great display of football and shows South Africa has no crisis of talent. The question is whether we have a vision, a plan to build a formidable side. We have five years to plan for that.

“It is back to the drawing board. We will support Safa in the realisation of their objective.

“Today we don’t have a good story. We have misery and agony and a nation in crisis about what must happen. We must build our national team, we have talent … I want us to have our own Neymar,” Mbalula said. - The Star


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