Ex-Bafana goalkeeper, sharp-witted Roger Da Sá will help prime Egypt’s Pharaohs
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CAPE TOWN – South African football's 'Mr Nice Guy' Roger De Sá will be lost to the local game for at least a year.
He has been recruited by former Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Queiroz to join the technical staff of Egypt’s national team.
The 56-year-old De Sá was offered the post after Queiroz was recently appointed head coach of Egypt's Pharaohs. Da Sa's appointment is until the end of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which is next year from late November to mid-December.
Since he started as a professional in 1985, De Sá has had a squeaky-clean record as a player, coach, chief executive officer and club owner. The former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper enjoyed the same standing in two other codes in which he represented South Africa, namely basketball and indoor soccer.
There was, however, one occasion when he was in a touchline altercation, and which was captured on national television.
Since touchline altercations have been the rage on social media of late, it is worth recounting a 2011 scene involving Da Sá and Benni McCarthy, whose recent touchline tirade racked up a slew of social media currency as likes, shares and comments carried on for hours afterwards.
Da Sá, for his sins, entered the fray as a peacemaker after an angry McCarthy, playing for Orlando Pirates at the time, had a verbal spat with Eric Tinkler, who was Da Sa's assistant at Wits University. When Da Sá tried to cool down the exchange, McCarthy turned on him.
“Listen here, what have you achieved in your career? Who are you? I’ll pay your salary out of my own pocket," McCarthy protested when Da Sá stepped in.
"You are nothing. Do you know how much I earn?"
The sharp-witted Da Sá responded: "Well, if they pay you by the kilo, then you earn a lot of money." It left McCarthy speechless.
Apart from two spells as Wits University's head coach, Da Sá was appointed in that position at Premier League clubs like Lightbody's Santos, Orlando Pirates, Maritzburg United, Platinum Stars and Ajax Cape Town.
Da Sá also served as Wits University's CEO at one stage, and thyere was a time when he sold his vehicle to make sure there were funds for the players' salaries.
During Queiroz's reign as South Africa's national team coach (2000–2002), Da Sá was Bafana Bafana's goalkeeping coach. Later, Queiroz was Portugal’s coach at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and again he called on Da Sa's services. The two share a common birthplace Mozambique and have over many years maintained contact.
"About a month ago, Carlos contacted me and offered the post as an assistant coach for Egypt," said Da Sa, the former Moroka Swallows, Wits University and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper.
"It was a no-brainer, and I gratefully accepted.
"Fortunately, I am free of all football obligations locally. Three months ago, I sold my club.
"It is a job that comes with massive pressure because of the expectations of the population of over 100 million inhabitants. It's the challenge I love.
"Egypt have at various times been the No 1 ranked national team in Africa, and have already played in three World Cups."
Many fans in Egypt will remember Da Sá who visited the country several times for Champions League matches while he was the coach at Pirates.
The Cape Town-based Da Sá flies out to Egypt this week to start his tenure alongside Queiroz.
He is the latest South African coach to secure a post in the 'Land of the Pharaohs', over the past year after Egyptian giants Al Ahlay appointed Pitso Mosimane and Cavin Johnson.