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The South African Football Association is to appoint both Gordon Igesund and Steve Komphela to lead the senior national team.
In what is seen as a win-win situation, Safa will have Igesund replace recently fired Pitso Mosimane as Bafana head coach, with Komphela staying on as assistant coach.
The Independent on Saturday has reliably learnt that Komphela and Neil Tovey were the only two who agreed to take on the assistant coach position when the Safa technical committee interviewed five candidates.
Although Komphela was apparently the technical committee’s favourite, it is believed that the Safa national executive committee will go with Igesund as the main man given the pressure for instant results.
Bafana’s recent failures, which include non-participation at the past two African Cup of Nations tournaments, a first-round exit at the World Cup (the first time by a host nation) and a pathetic start to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil (two draws against lowly opposition), have placed the association under pressure.
Igesund has over the years proven himself to be a miracle worker of sorts with his ability to turn seemingly ordinary outfits into Premier Soccer League winners, and is thought to be just what Bafana need.
With Igesund likely to provide a quick-fix solution, Safa are also aware of long-term needs, such as grooming young players for the senior side. It is here that Komphela is said to be handy, his presentation to the technical committee apparently having shown him to be a visionary.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the pairing will work given their different playing philosophies.
Igesund is renowned for his direct-route playing style, which is built on a tradition of discipline and a heavy reliance on experienced and established campaigners.
Komphela, on the other hand, is an exponent of the free-flowing football that allows players – often young unknowns eager to make a name for themselves – freedom of expression.
He is said to have impressed the technical committee with his openness to ideas, something Igesund is not renowned for.
The multiple-championship winning coach is also more of a soloist, generally having worked with assistants who had no problem taking a back-seat role.
Komphela is not like that, having already established himself as one of the country’s top future coaches.
It will be fascinating to see how the two work around their different philosophies. Yet with so much for both to gain, they are sure to find common ground that will not only benefit them but also the country’s senior national team.
Safa are expected to make their announcement at Safa House in Nasrec late this afternoon.
Safa president Kirsten Nematandani has said that the administrative issues regarding the coaches’ contracts have already been discussed with the two men because the association wanted to speed up the appointment process.
“While we’ll only make our decision on Saturday, our admin has already engaged the two men in terms of contract matters,” said Nematandani.
“We want to avoid a situation where we choose a person and then we don’t agree on terms, leading us to going to the guy we turned down.”
The association has already said that the new coach will be earning less than the R800 000 a month that Mosimane was reported to have been paid.
On Monday, Igesund resumed his position as coach of Moroka Swallows, last season’s Premier League runners-up, in preparation for the 2012/13 season, reports Sapa.
“Steve (Komphela) and I are due to make final representations to the Safa executive tomorrow,” said Igesund yesterday.
“We were told that the final decision for the Bafana post would be announced shortly afterwards, but for the meantime it’s business as usual with Swallows as far as I am concerned.
“I’ve been in the game too long to jump the gun or take anything for granted.”
Igesund recalled how he had been told officially, 10 years ago, that the special committee entrusted with choosing the Bafana coach at the time had nominated him – only for the Safa executive to overturn the decision and announce Trott Moloto as the coach.
“I would be lying if I did not admit that I look at the possibility of coaching Bafana as a great challenge and, what anyone in my position would consider a stepping stone, but I’ve learnt to accept what life serves up,” he said.
He also admitted it would not be easy leaving Swallows after “an amazing year” with the Birds.
“But I’m not thinking of that right now,” he added.