Queiroz's golden goodbye

By Carl Peters Time of article published Mar 13, 2002

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The South African Football Association (Safa) will pay compensation to sidelined Bafana Bafana head coach Carlos Queiroz, but the size of the cheque could become an issue after Queiroz denied Tuesday's announcement by Safa president Molefi Oliphant that he had resigned his position.

On a day of drama, Oliphant said at a much-delayed press conference that the Portuguese coach had decided to "step aside" because he wouldn't compromise on the issue of player selections, which recently-appointed technical director Jomo Sono thought he had the final say on.

But, while Safa chief operations officer Albert Mokoena added that Queiroz had clearly stated in a meeting with the president and members of the Bafana task team headed by Professor Mandla Mchunu earlier in the day that he was willing to resign to protect his dignity, the head coach later denied that he had officially quit his position.

The difference between the parties' statements could be hundreds of thousands of rands, as a voluntary resignation is normally worth far less to an employee than a voluntary or forced retrenchment.

Queiroz's contract is valid until the end of the World Cup.


Mokoena said the coach and Oliphant were to iron out the compensation package together, but this was not likely to happen this week as Oliphant had to attend a Caf meeting in Cairo.

"We don't know why Carlos is now said to be denying his resignation, when he clearly said in the meeting in the morning that he was going to step aside," said the chief operations officer.

The technicalities aside, though, Sono is now the big boss (literally and figuratively) of Bafana and many will be expecting to see further changes in the coaching department and playing section.

How he is going to take care of Bafana, his club and business activities all at the same time is up for debate, but one positive aspect is that he generally has a good rapport with players.

As was witnessed by Bafana coming close to retaining their African Nations' Cup title in Burkina Faso in 1998, the players love to play for him, and he gets the best out of them.

The "Black Prince" is due to announce a squad on Thursday for next Wednesday's World Cup warm-up match against fellow qualifiers Saudi Arabia in Italy, and there is also set to be an announcement on the futures of current assistant coaches Trott Moloto and Steve Khompela.


Even the team's media spokesperson, Gugu Marawa, did not know where she stood on Tuesday.

But while he now has complete selection powers, Sono is likely to find himself having to do a juggling act for the Saudi Arabia clash and the games against Georgia and Botswana the following week because of clashes with club fixtures at home and abroad.

Apart from ordinary league games, there are also African inter-club assignments away from home for Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, who normally supply most of the local talent to the national side.

Chances are that mainly locally-based players will have to be used in Italy and Botswana while a full-strength side can be picked for the Georgia clash on March 27 as that is a special day set aside by Fifa for World Cup warm-up matches, as is April 17 when Bafana play host to Yugoslavia in Johannesburg.

Long-time absentee Mark Fish, one of many players spotted and nurtured by Sono, could make his return on March 27 if he recovers in time from injury.

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