Neil Tovey is set to join Bafana Bafana as an assistant coach, with new head coach Gordon Igesund expected to name his backroom staff later today.
Tovey was approached last week by Igesund to help him take the South African team into a new era, and is currently a free agent, his contract having expired at National First Division side Thanda Royal Zulu.
Igesund was coy yesterday when asked about Tovey’s appointment.
“I am meeting with the chairman of the technical team tomorrow,” he said.
“I gave my recommendations last week. We will discuss it with the technical team and take it from there.”
But The Star understands that Tovey has been contacted, with Jairo Leal’s removal from the post also expected to be confirmed today.
Tovey was the captain as Bafana Bafana lifted the African Nations Cup on home turf in 1996, and is now set to be part of the coaching staff, as South Africa again welcomes the rest of the continent in 2013.
The task for the coaching team is an uphill one, with Bafana having failed to qualify for the last two African Nations Cups, and reeling in World Cup 2014 qualifying, with two points from two games.
Even so, the South African Football Association have mandated Igesund to make it to at least the semi-finals of AFCON 2013, and to qualify for Brazil 2014.
Tovey had a fantastic playing career at international and club level, making over 50 appearances for Bafana, as well as becoming a star name at Kaizer Chiefs in the 1990s.
He has had mixed results in his coaching career, typified when he won the title with Sundowns (with co-coach Miguel Gamondi) only to be replaced after a difficult start to the new campaign.
Ironically the man who replaced him was Igesund, who went on to win his fourth league title as a coach in the same season.
Tovey, who turned 50 last week, has also coached AmaZulu, Hellenic and Mpumalanga Black Aces and most recently Thanda Royal Zulu, who failed to gain promotion to the Absa Premiership via the play-offs.
Not long after Pitso Mosimane was sacked as coach of Bafana at the beginning of June, Tovey was one of the five men asked by the South African Football Association to make a presentation for the Bafana head coach job.
Tovey was eliminated after the first round of interviews, along with along with Gavin Hunt and Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba, with Igesund eventually chosen ahead of Steve Komphela.
Tovey and Komphela were reportedly the only two of the original candidates who said that they would take the job of assistant coach, if approached.
Other members of Igesund’s coaching staff are also expected to be named today, with former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Andre Arendse expected to be named in the post of goalkeeper coach.