The South African Football Association (Safa) expects Bafana Bafana to reach the final of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, and has effectively warned coach Pitso Mosimane that he stands to lose his job if the side cannot make it past the group stages.
Acting president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana made it quite clear on Thursday that failure in the continental showpiece, which is being hosted here for the first time since 1996, was not acceptable.
“Of course we have met with our coach,” said Nonkonyana. “And naturally we want to reclaim our rightful position, to be No1 in Africa… we are not in the top three in Africa. To us, that is the minimum.
“But when you host in the country, you must go to the final, so you can be No1.
“If we are booted out in the first round, it will be a serious indictment, and heads will have to roll.
“But key to that is to give our coach every support, from finances to administration, so he can have no excuses. We will not be amused if we are beaten.”
Nonkonyana was speaking after Safa announced the initial prognosis of last weekend’s technical symposium, aimed at creating a way forward for the beautiful game in this country.
South Africa are loitering - pathetically nowhere near the top of the continental pile, having failed to qualify for the last two African Cup of Nations finals.
According to a Safa statement: “The primary purpose was to establish a consensus among more than 200 of some of South Africa’s best football minds as to where we are and what we need to focus on, to build a technical foundation that can enable us to realise our potential and become a dominant nation in African and world football by 2020.”
“We need again to become a winning nation,” added Safa CEO Robin Peterson.
“We have to recapture the success embodied in the success of 1996 (when South Africa won the Nations Cup on home soil), we have to do this consistently and think big.
“We have set a goal - that we are consistently in the top three in Africa at all age levels, and in the top 20 in the world. We achieved this once, but intermittently, and we have been on a steady decline since.”
The symposium outlined within this a series of pointers, from developing a national philosophy, to talent identification, to sport science, that Safa will use as a framework to achieve their ambitions.
“There is no silver bullet for success,” added Peterson.
“We have to earn the respect of our fans and stakeholders… doing the hard work, taking the road less travelled and going through the necessary route of planning, and ultimately implementation.”
Bafana coach Mosimane, however, cannot quite operate on the same timeline as Safa, if the acting president Nonkonyana’s words are to be believed.
While the association has until 2020 to create a dominant force in football, Mosimane has less than a year to create a side capable of reaching the final of a Nations Cup.
Good luck, Pitso, you’re going to need it. - The Star