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Johannesburg – When Carlos Queiroz qualified Iran for the 2014 World Cup last June, with a 1-0 win in South Korea, he reacted with great vengeance and furious anger, as Jules Winnfield of Pulp Fiction fame might say.
Queiroz, as part of an ongoing spat with Korean coach Choi Kang-Hee, was accused by a Korean official of approaching the opposition bench and making an “obscene gesture” at his counterpart.
A YouTube video shows him waving his fist at the Koreans, even that a distasteful over-reaction to the scent of victory from the fiery Portuguese coach.
I would be less surprised if Queiroz were to produce an obscene gesture upon being offered the Bafana Bafana job by the South African Football Association, once his exploits in Brazil with Iran are complete.
After all, he did appear to be royally shafted out of the hot seat on his last appearance as Bafana coach some 12 years ago, having guided the side to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Queiroz resigned not long after Jomo Sono had been appointed by Safa as Bafana technical director, citing the fact that he had lost autonomy over team selection. And lo and behold, it was Sono who got the job to take Bafana to the World Cup.
And yet, if the rumour mill is to be believed, and the rumour mill is particularly noisy, Safa are extremely confident Queiroz will be back to coach Bafana.
Safa president Danny Jordaan has thus far denied Queiroz has been offered the job, but then it would be remiss of Jordaan to say anything before he deals with current coach Gordon Igesund.
Igesund’s fate is set to be sealed in the next week or so, as the fallout from the African Nations Championships failure is discussed by the association. Once Igesund’s departure is confirmed, and it looks like when, rather than if he goes, more clarity should emerge on the Queiroz situation.
For Safa to appoint Queiroz would certainly look like an open admission that they stuffed up in 2002, and that South African football has gone absolutely nowhere since. Bafana Bafana have, indeed, not made it through qualifying for another World Cup, while their stature even in the continental game has descended into a sorry abyss.
For Queiroz to take the job, knowing as he does the state of the national game, would signal to me that either he still has an unexpected burning desire to finish a job he started way back when, or that he has been offered a bakkie-load of cash. His salary with Iran is said to be about R22,3-million-a-year.
Having taken Iran to the World Cup, and coached Portugal, Manchester United (as an assistant) and Real Madrid since his Bafana exploits, it is not as if Queiroz is likely to be short on offers when Brazil 2014 is over.