Bafana job not a black and white issue

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Igesund_Komphela Gallo Images Gordon Igesund and Steve Komphela are the last men standing in the race for the Bafana Bafana job.

The decision to select the next Bafana Bafana coach is not as black and white an issue as it may seem. It it has many shades of grey.

Granted, the two men who came out tops from the interviews conducted by the technical committee of the South African Football Association after presentations made by the initial five candidates are… well, black and white – Steve Komphela and Gordon Igesund.

And such has been the general public opinion since Pitso Mosimane was fired that most will no doubt venture that it should surely be in black and white (on the committee’s assessment forms) that Igesund must be the man left standing come month-end.

Yet, while the coach of Moroka Swallows might appear to many as a shoo-in for the most senior coaching post in the country, there are a lot of factors that suggest the issue is far from being clear-cut.

For one, Komphela already has the job, the Free State Stars coach having taken over as a stop-gap coach following Mosimane’s dismissal. And, as Igesund would have been quick to tell any of those who called to congratulate him on his being short-listed last night, being the technical committee’s favourite does not equal being hired.

The two men are, according to chairman Fanyana Sibanyoni, still to present their case to the Safa executive committee which will make the final ruling.

And experience would have taught Igesund not to start getting excited, having once lost out because the executive committee over-ruled the technical committee. Back then when he lost out to Trott Moloto, it was said that the Safa executive could not bear to have a white man lead the squad at a time when the country was going through transformation with just about every industry employing the Affirmative Action policy to address the imbalances of the past.

It is 2012 now, and surely Safa are not going to pick a coach based on his colour?

Surely they are going to select the best man for the job, the man capable of turning Bafana Bafana into a force on the continent if not beyond? And there’s a general belief that Igesund is that man. After all, many have been clamouring for his elevation to the country’s most senior coaching post since he turned Moroka Swallows from a relegation-haunted side to championship challengers. Adding his unparalelled four-championship success with four different clubs, the Igesund corner have been shouting their man deserves a tilt at at national team job.

Perhaps rightly so!

But how will a man who has over the years proven to be a soloist lead the national team to success? Igesund is not a renowned team player, most of his assistants having been mere ball boys.

And, besides, this is a coach who can only work with ready-made players, often highly experienced veterans who he gets to play their hearts out via his motivational skills. Will that work at international level?

Igesund’s presentation, The Star has learnt, also revealed a narcissistic demeanour (he is said to have littered his every sentence with I and more I’s) that might not go down well with the executive committee.

Safa has said that the man they want should be able to take not only Bafana out of the current rut they are in but the entire national team set-up and should thus be able to work closely with the rest of the technical set-up of the association.

Does all that open the door to Komphela to become coach permanently? It would appear so. Word has it that his presentation was highly impressive, despite his grandiose language flying over the heads of some.

Unlike Igesund, who apparently was not aware that there’s a next phase after the current group stages of the World Cup qualifiers, Komphela presented a clear vision of how he plans to ensure South Africa are a force, not only in the immediate future but in years to come, by ensuring there’s a proper progression of players from youth level to the senior side.

His ending of Bafana’s pathetic winless run by beating Gabon with a side teeming with “new” players apparently did his case the world of good.

A tough decision for the executive committee, yet if anything is black and white, it is the fact our football is in dire straits, and either man had better be prepared to change the status quo. – The Star


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