Johannesburg – Gordon Igesund's position as coach of the national team has not been threatened by Bafana Bafana's elimination in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, according to the SA Football Association (Safa).
South Africa were knocked out in a dramatic penalty shootout defeat against Mali in Durban on Saturday night.
“Yes, we did set the objective for the coach of taking the team to the semi-final stage, but you have to aim high,” Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said on Monday.
“More important was the manner in which Bafana performed in the Afcon, improving to a level that exceeded our expectations since Gordon took over as coach six months ago.
“And if this level of performance is maintained, there is no reason why Igesund should not be entrenched as the Bafana coach for the 2018 World Cup.”
Nematandani said Bafana held their own against one of the top sides on the continent as they had played with a great deal of “skill, honour and determination” in their quarter-final clash on Saturday.
He said what Igesund had achieved thus far was worthy of a great deal of praise.
“I believe Igesund remains the best man in the country for the position of Bafana coach,” Nematandani said.
“We can only hope this continues as Gordon assumes the next critical challenge of taking Bafana to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”
Nematandani said South Africa had already made the ongoing Afcon tournament a resounding success, but joined Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula in calling on the public to support the competition until the final on Sunday, in spite of the host team's elimination.
“We must demonstrate our stature as true sportsmen, and support the semi-finals and final to the hilt no matter which teams make it to the finale,” he said.
“Ultimately we could be judged by this very factor.” – Sapa