Safa still mum over Bafana coach

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iol spt july19 Bafana Gallo Images South Africans are still no closer to knowing who Safa will name as the new coach of Bafana on July 26. Photo: Ashley Vlotman

Johannesburg – With a week to go until the new Bafana Bafana coach is officially unveiled in Johannesburg, South Africans are still no closer to knowing who the SA Football Association (Safa) will name on July 26.

Joint-favourite to get the nod, Carlos Queiroz, was widely expected to rule himself out of the race earlier this week, when Iranian media suggested that he was on the verge of signing a new contract with the Iranian Football Federation (IFF).

The IFF, however, has yet to make an announcement, after Thursday was earmarked as the day that Queiroz would pen the deal.

The former Manchester United assistant has been strongly linked with the vacant Bafana post, a position he held between 2000 and 2002.

His contract with Iran ended after the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil. Iran finished last in group F.

Meanwhile, the other favourite, Stephen Keshi, has held talks with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), demanding a better deal and assurances that he would be granted a contract negotiated on his own terms.

The NFF – who were banned from any international activity by Fifa on July 9, following interference from the Nigerian government – are believed to be in talks with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations-winning boss.

The ban was subsequently lifted on Friday, after the Nigerian government withdrew from any dealings with the NFF, allowing the country's soccer authority to return to normal.

Had the ban been upheld, Keshi could have been prompted to find a new employer, with the threat of Nigeria not taking part in any matches, which would include qualification for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Morocco, looming.

While much of the attention this week was focused on Queiroz and Keshi's every move, South African under-20 coach Shakes Mashaba publicly expressed his desire to be given the chance to lead the senior side.

“If the nation wants me to go there (to Bafana), I can't say no,” Mashaba said this week.

“For now I'm not going to say much on this matter. Let's wait for the announcement (next week).”

Safa are also keeping mum on the announcement of the technical director post, which will also be made public next weekend.

Former Bafana and current Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter remains the early favourite for the job, but the Briton has told the Amakhosi management that he is not interested in the post. – Sapa


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