The national job is still attracting the attention of coaches worldwide, with CVs continually trickling into Safa’s mailbox, according to president Danny Jordaan.
While Jordaan earlier this week appeared pleased that his organisation’s search for a new coach might be a contender for the Newsmaker of the Year award, for veterans such as Delron Buckley that’s the least of the national team’s concerns.
The former international winger and current AmaZulu development coach believes it’s more important that whoever is in charge should select players who are on form. Speaking at the recent launch of his self-titled book, penned by writer and life coach Myan Subrayan, Buckley said: “It doesn’t matter who the coach is, as long as he selects the right players.”
The reasoning behind Buckley’s view is that if the squad is composed of the best athletes who are on top of their game then any decent coach should be able to get the job done.
And there’s plenty of talent in the country, which only requires proper grooming for players to flourish, said the Sydenham-born star who left Durban as a 16-year-old to sign for Vfl Bochum in Germany.
He pointed out that in the development structures in Germany, where he is a legendary figure after a lengthy career in the Bundesliga for Vfl Bochum, Borussia Dortmund and Arminia Bielefeld, youth coaches must be qualified up to a certain level. However, the opposite is the case locally where unqualified coaches are often in charge of polishing rough diamonds.
Having worked under star coaches such as Jürgen Klopp at Dortmund and Philippe Troussier and Carlos Queiroz at national level, Buckley rates the latter highly and reckons the Portuguese was “top quality” and “could get the job done”.
Queiroz and current SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter have long been linked with a second return to the helm of the national side.
As in his book, Buckley tells it straight from the heart. He praised recently axed coach Ephraim Mashaba for being a “good motivator” and setting out “fun training sessions” during their time together in the Under-23 set-up at the 2000 Olympics.
However, he pointed out Shakes’ shortcomings in terms of the reality of the scientific era the game has evolved into, something that led to Mashaba’s dismissal last year.
“We are now in 2017. When I went to watch a training session last year it was the same as in 2000. Football has changed dramatically. It hasn’t stood still,” Buckley said.
As for the current crop of youngsters, like Phakamani Mahlambi and Luther Singh, in the senior national teamBuckley is optimistic about their future.
“The youngsters called up have nothing to lose. They all have potential to make it abroad.”
Buckley was motivated to write the book to share his story of persevering against the odds of growing up with a single parent in an environment where one could easily fall into gangsterism and drugs, and still reaching the heights of going to two World Cups and earning 76 caps for South Africa.
Even when he made it to the top there was a period with Dortmund where he felt suicidal, but worked through the challenges and came out stronger. Having come through the German system, Buckley will return to Europe later this year to complete his Uefa A licence.