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Safa in crisis talks, set to axe Pitso

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Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane could be without a job by this afternoon.

Pitso Mosimane is set to be sacked as Bafana Bafana coach on Monday, following South Africa’s dismal 1-1 draw with Ethiopia in their opening 2014 World Cup qualifier on Sunday in Phokeng.

The South African Football Association have convened an emergency meeting, set for 11am on Monday, where they are expected to fire Mosimane, and replace him with his assistant coach, Steve Komphela.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani refused to divulge whether or not Mosimane’s future was in doubt.

“The national team discussion will pertain to everything,” he said.

The home draw with a side ranked 138th in the world is believed to be the final straw for Safa, as Mosimane’s time in charge of Bafana has slowly hit the skids following a promising start.

Komphela was officially named as an assistant coach in April of this year, following a successful season in charge of Free State Stars in the Premier Soccer League. It is unknown whether he will be handed the job on a caretaker or permanent basis, but his first game in charge is likely to be Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Botswana in Gaborone.

Mosimane took over from Carlos Alberto Parreira after the 2010 Fifa World Cup and had a decent start to his Bafana reign, with the side moving into pole position to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup, after a home win over Egypt in March 2011.

A defeat to Niger in Niamey in September, however, proved a serious setback, which was followed by farcical scenes in Nelspruit a month later, as Bafana celebrated a draw with Sierra Leone, only to discover that Confederation of African Football rules put Niger into the Nations Cup finals.

Mosimane had played for a draw in the second half, thinking a point would be enough.

He survived until the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, but given two weeks to prepare most of the team, the best Mosimane could manage was a home draw against arguably the worst side in Group A.

Ethiopia, who have never made it to a World Cup finals, and who have not qualified for the Nations Cup since 1982, only arrived in South Africa on Friday, and were missing arguably their best known player, in former Orlando Pirates and SuperSport striker Tefera Fikru.

Mosimane, by contrast, had two weeks to prepared most of his squad at the world class facilities provided by the Bafokeng Sports Campus, just up the road from the stadium.

Bafana were captained by English Premier League star Steven Pienaar, but he gave one of his worst performances in a Bafana shirt.

After a bright start, Bafana faded terribly and Ethiopia capitalised, Egypt-based Saladin Said lashing in a fantastic shot after 29 minutes.

Bafana looked set for a woeful defeat, and even though Katlego Mphela somewhat saved their blushes, with a goal 13 minutes from time, it does not appear to have been enough to save Mosimane.

Only the top side in Group A will qualify for the World Cup play-offs, and the weekend’s results leave Bafana trailing the Central African Republic, who beat Botswana in Bangui on Saturday. – IOL


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