JOHANNESBURG - Pitso Mosimane. That should be the one and only name on the South African Football Association’s shopping list as they embark on a journey to find a replacement for Molefi Ntseki.
Ntseki failed to guide Bafana Bafana to the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations after a bitterly disappointing 2-0 loss away to Sudan which ensured that they missed out on the continental showpiece as they finished third in Group C behind leaders Ghana and the Falcons of Jediane.
Ntseki's appointment as Bafana coach shouldn’t have been made in the first place.
This is a man who had made a name for himself by inspiring the Under-17 national team, Amajimbos, to the World Cup and deputising for his predecessors, including Stuart Baxter.
But after Safa fired Ntseki yesterday, it’s time for them to humble themselves and beg Mosimane to come back to coach the national senior men’s team.
Of course, he deserves to be begged alright! His last stint with Bafana ended on a sour note, sacked after he failed to qualify the team for Afcon 2012.
However, it’s incredible how “Jingles” has bounced back since the dance of shame against Sierra Leone.
He earned his stripes on the continent by not only guiding Mamelodi Sundowns to an illustrious record of 11 trophies in seven years, but he currently coaches one of the leading clubs in Africa.
Currently, the Kagiso-born coach is calling the shots at African Club of the Century Al Ahly, where he won the treble in his first season, including the Caf Champions League.
Recently, he guided Egypt’s Red Devils to third place at the Club World Cup.
Mosimane has earned his legendary status around the globe as well, winning two trebles with two clubs in one season – one with Sundowns and the other with Ahly.
So often in the past, the national team players appear to run all over their coaches.
Ntseki was a victim of that as well, calling up players who didn’t deserve to be part of the national team.
Of course, no one can buy experience, which is why veteran goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was part of the latest squad, according to Ntseki.
But as a national team commander in chief, you need to have a thick skin and select players based on form, not experience.
Mosimane has that thick skin, considering that he ran the show at Sundowns and is still doing the same at Al Ahly.
Giving players a shot, regardless of being young or old, has created national treasures.
Were it not for Mosimane and his incredible technical team at
Sundowns, maybe there wouldn’t be the Percy Tau that we've grown to know and love as a nation.
But thanks to Mosimane’s nurturing and fatherly demeanour, we have South Africa’s “Lion of Judah” who almost inspired the country to the Promised Land – Afcon – after scoring what appeared to be an important equaliser during the 1-1 draw with Ghana in the penultimate qualifier last week.
It took Mosimane a season to win his first Premiership title at Sundowns and a few months to win his second Champions League at Al Ahly.
He may not produce the same success instantly at Bafana, but if he is supported by Safa, surely he will.