Johannesburg - The latest development from the corridors of the SA Football Association is that the search for a new Bafana Bafana coach has been whittled down to three candidates - Carlos Queiroz, Stephen Keshi and Ruud Krol.
Independent Newspapers soccer writer Jonty Mark takes a look at the pros and cons of the three favourites:
Pros: Queiroz probably deserves a second chance to coach Bafana following the ludicrous decision to sack him in 2002, after he had qualified the team for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. His reputation has mainly been enhanced since he left Bafana, drawing great admiration from Sir Alex Ferguson and the Manchester United players in his spells as an assistant coach at Old Trafford. His friendship with Safa president Danny Jordaan could ensure that he escapes the internal politics that brought a sharp end to his last stint.
Cons: Queiroz is believed to be on a salary of about R21.5-million a year with Iran, and it remains to be seen if Safa are prepared to match such riches to lure their man. From Queiroz’ point of view, it will be interesting to see whether he really wants to come back to South Africa after his last experience. “It is a matter of principle and ethics,” Queiroz said, according to the BBC, when he left the job in 2002. “The issue at stake is who has final control over the selection of players and I am not prepared to share that responsibility. I cannot compromise my professionalism.” With Safa determined to also appoint a technical director, if they do give Queiroz the Bafana job, they had better make sure that the man above him is someone he is prepared to work with.
Pros: A man with a proven track record in Africa at international level, as a player and a coach. Won the Africa Cup of Nations as captain of Nigeria in 1994, and won it as coach in South Africa in 2013. Keshi then qualified Nigeria for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where he will lead the Super Eagles exactly 20 years after captaining the side to the last 16 at the 1994 World Cup in the US. Keshi also got an unfancied Togo to the 2006 World Cup, and was bizzarely sacked before the start of the tournament. He should also be an affordable option for the association, his current salary with Nigeria believed to be in the region of R340000 a month. And after the struggles he has had to get paid by his own association, Keshi would probably also appreciate a more stable job.
Cons: If Keshi were to take over, his second match in charge of Bafana would be against … Nigeria, in the 2015 Afcon qualifiers. The proud Nigerian would surely face a massive backlash in his homeland if we were to leave the Super Eagles for such an immediately direct rival. Keshi has also never worked in the South African game before and would have to adapt quickly if he is to take Bafana to the 2015 Nations Cup in Morocco. The super-confident coach would also have to work with a talent pool not even close to as rich as that in his native country (though he did do a pretty good job with Togo).
Pros: Unlike Keshi and Queiroz, Krol would, theoretically, be available this instant, as he has just been sacked by Tunisian giants Esperance! The Dutchman has plenty of international experience, both as a player, reaching the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals with the Netherlands, and as a coach, at the helm of Egypt and Tunisia, and as an assistant to the Dutch national team. Krol took Egypt to the 1996 African Nations Cup, where they were the only side to beat champions South Africa. Krol also enjoyed plenty of success at South African club level with Orlando Pirates, winning six knockout trophies and the 2010/11 league title, before being surprisingly sacked the following season. He went on to win the 2012/13 Tunisian league title with CS Sfaxien and the 2013 CAF Confederations Cup. He may be a more affordable option.
Cons: Krol lacks the coaching pedigree of Keshi or Queiroz at international level. As interim coach of Tunisia, his Carthage Eagles side were hammered by Cameroon in the World Cup 2014 play-offs, while his Egypt side were beaten 3-1 by Zambia in the quarter-finals of the 1996 Nations Cup. His appointment would arguably not fit the kind of high profile name that Danny Jordaan seems to want. Would Krol really be a step up in credentials from the man Safa have just kicked out of the job, Gordon Igesund? Igesund, after all, also got Bafana to the quarter-finals of a Nations Cup … plus, Krol has just been sacked by Esperance!