In the world of football where nothing is all it seems, Saturday’s highly anticipated announcement of the new Bafana Bafana coach could well spring a surprise.
For one, the country’s soccer fans might just have to wait at least 24 hours longer to know who between Gordon Igesund and Steve Komphela replaces Pitso Mosimane as coach of the senior national team.
While the deliberations on the coach are sure to be top of the agenda, the South African Football Association’s National Executive Committee (Safa NEC) have other issues to deliberate during their quarterly meeting at Safa House in Nasrec.
“We’re having a standard quarterly meeting where all the sub committees of the association will present their reports,” said Kirsten Nematandani, the Safa president. “And this issue on the national coach is part of it, so depending on how things develop there’s a possibility we might overlap into Sunday because normally these meetings take all day.”
Nematandani reiterated the fact the NEC are keen to understand how the technical committee reached their decision in recommending the man they have (largely believed to be Komphela), hence the two coaches having to once again present their plan on Saturday.
“We will first listen to the coaches and won’t grill them with questions like they were by the technical committee. After that, we will hear from the technical committee and if there is consensus we will announce the new coach.”
And coming from as diverse backgrounds as they are, there is every possibility consensus will take a while for the NEC to come to. It is here that those good (or bad) old habits of the supposedly beautiful game, might rear its ugly head.
Unlike in the elections for presidents (of football associations and confederations), none of Komphela or Igesund would have spent this week passing on brown envelopes to the 32 executives. Yet you can bet that the members themselves would have been canvassing for their favourite candidate among each.
After all, never has there been such a difference in candidates for a job.
While Igesund comes highly decorated with multiple championships in the elite league and thus a crowd favourite, his “rigidity in his approach to the game” and emphasis on “discipline” has apparently not won him favour with the technical committee.
Komphela, on the other hand, has pretty much nothing to show for his many coaching years – a factor that should surely count against him, moreso if you consider that failure with the national Under-23 side. But he is said to have impressed the technical committee with his “flexibility and vision” which they seem to have been convinced is what the country’s football need going forward.
While they will be united in the need to help turn the team’s fortunes around, they are divided as to the way to go about it. It makes for a fascinating wait. – The Star