Johannesburg - The South African Football Association (Safa) is set to announce the return of Carlos Queiroz as Bafana Bafana coach on Saturday.
The Safa executive will meet for their regular quarterly meeting in Joburg, where it is believed they will rubber-stamp the appointment of Queiroz, who will take up his duties from the beginning of August.
The Star understands that Queiroz met with Safa president Danny Jordaan last month to finalise the terms of his contract, while on a training camp in South Africa with the Iran national team, who Queiroz is taking to the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
All this will mean that current Bafana coach Gordon Igesund took charge of the national team for the last time on Friday against New Zealand in Auckland. Igesund’s contract with Safa expires at the end of July, and it is widely expected that he will not be offered a new deal.
Queiroz’s return marks an effective admission by Safa that it erred in dismissing him as Bafana coach after Bafana’s quarter-final exit from the 2002 African Nations Cup.
The decision to sack Queiroz smacked of internal politics, with the Mozambique-born coach having already qualified Bafana for the 2002 Fifa World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Queiroz was subsequently snapped up by Sir Alex Ferguson as his assistant coach at Manchester United, and went on to win three league titles and a Uefa Champions League while at Old Trafford.
Ferguson was such an admirer of Queiroz’s coaching methods that he wrote in his autobiography: “He was the closest you could be to being the Manchester United manager without actually holding the title.”
Queiroz had less successful spells at the helm of Real Madrid and as the coach of the Portuguese national team, though he did guide the latter to the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Portugal were knocked out by Spain in the last 16 and Queiroz was sacked in September of the same year.
He signed a deal to coach Iran in April 2011, and did brilliantly to get them to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Queiroz has been vocal, however, in his complaints about his side’s preparation for Brazil, and appears to have now pledged his future to South Africa.
Igesund has remained upbeat about his own chances of retaining the job, and could be considered a little unlucky not to be given a chance to take Bafana through the qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
Igesund has not been in charge for a full qualifying campaign with this Bafana side, and won three of his four qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.
Jordaan, however, has never exactly been forthright in his endorsement of Igesund, and Saturday we are likely to find out why.
Carlos Queiroz at a glance
Born: Nampula, Mozambique.
Won two World Youth Championships with the Portugal Under-20 team in 1989 and 1991.
Has qualified three teams for the World Cup finals: Bafana Bafana (2002), Portugal (2010) and Iran (2014).
Has been head coach at clubs in Portugal, the US, Japan, and Spain, but is arguably better know as Fergie’s assistant at Man United!