There’s a good future for Bafana, says Jordaan


DURBAN – After a convincing victory over recent Africa Cup of Nations participants Guinea-Bissau, the return of several players from the cold and a youngster scoring on debut, Bafana Bafana are again a popular football flavour.

Whereas club loyalties often trumped the national team interests, the manner of the weekend’s 3-1 win over Guinea-Bissau in Durban has the football hierarchy bubbling with excitement over South Africa’s prospects of qualifying for continental and global events.

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Percy Tau scored an “incredible goal”, says Safa president Danny Jordaan. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePixKamohelo Mokotjo was in top form on his return to the Bafana side. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Safa president Danny Jordaan and caretaker coach Owen da Gama both gushed about the future after the new-look side dismantled the West Africans with goals from returning player Kermit Erasmus, debutant Percy Tau and Andile Jali.

Erasmus and midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo returned to the national fold after lengthy absences following fall-outs with former coach Ephraim Mashaba.

Mokotjo even relinquished his citizenship in favour of Dutch nationality, but with government intervention, he resumed South African citizenship in time to feature in Saturday’s friendly at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“I’m very happy, particularly in the midfield, where we started off with Kamohelo. He gave an incredible performance in the midfield. I’m happy that he’s back. It was a revelation to see Kamohelo on the park with his South African passport,” said Safa president Danny Jordaan.

“And in the end, we had Percy Tau. What a start to an international career. His first tackle earned him a yellow card. I think he was quite shocked.

“Then his first touch – it was an incredible goal he scored. So, his first two touches was one of a shock and a celebration.

“But he’s a player who will bring an additional dimension to the team. Once the midfield is settled, I think we’ll have a very good team.”

The Guinea-Bissau match and Tuesday’s friendly outing against Angola in East London were planned as part of preparation for the resumption of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers away to Cape Verde in September, Jordaan explained.

“We wanted to play Guinea-Bissau because more or less, it is the kind of football Cape Verde play. We’re looking for those six points to qualify for the World Cup.

“Overall, we are very happy. And now we will go to play Angola in East London. Again similar style of play, similar players, they all come from Portugal.

“They play in the second division in Portugal, all of them, so it’s very good preparation for the World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde.”

Soon after the Angola clash, a new coach will be revealed. Jordaan was optimistic that the new man will fit into the current technical structure, where the various age-group national team coaches work together.

“We saw a good crop of very young players, very talented, and there’s a good future for Bafana Bafana. As a principle, we want to ensure continuity, we want the coaches to work together. The result of that, you saw our Under-20 players on the bench,” he said in reference to the likes of striker Luther Singh, who is set to get his first senior cap on Tuesday.

Kamohelo Mokotjo was in top form on his return to the Bafana side. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Amidst the positive vibe, there lingers an uncertainty over world governing body Fifa’s investigation into South Africa’s 2-1 World Cup qualifier win over Senegal in November for alleged match-fixing by the referee.

However, Jordaan was unperturbed.

“We don’t appoint referees. That was Fifa’s appointment. We can only play under the rules and direction of the referee appointed by Fifa, so there’s nothing we can do.

“Let’s deal with the reality. We have four points. And we need another six to take us one step closer to Russia 2018.”

Da Gama was also confident that whoever took charge would find a squad well placed to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 World Cup.

“I’m so confident in the players here that no ways will South Africa not qualify for the Afcon and the World Cup. That confidence has got to come from us as the staff, and we hope from the nation.”

The Afcon qualifiers kick off with a match away to Nigeria in June. Before that, the Championship of African Nations (Chan) qualifiers start late next month.

However, for that programme, as well as the Cosafa tournament, Jordaan said they planned to use another squad altogether, so that this group could remain fresh and focused on the major events.

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