Safa still scram­bling to net Bafana Bafana coach

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

The search for a new Bafana Bafana coach is far from over. After miss­ing its dead­line to un­veil Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba’s suc­ces­sor, the SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) is still scram­bling to find its man.

This is after the two main tar­gets – Car­los Queiroz and Hervé Re­nard – fell by the way­side.

An­other men­tor the as­so­ci­a­tion had been eye­ing was Hugo Broos, who led the In­domitable Lions of Cameroon to the Africa Cup of Na­tions cham­pi­onship last month.

City Press has learnt that Safa has re­newed its in­ter­est in Su­per­Sport United coach Stu­art Bax­ter and for­mer Or­lando Pi­rates coach Ruud Krol. A source within the as­so­ci­a­tion con­firmed the two were the only re­main­ing can­di­dates from the ini­tial five-man short list.

The source said Krol had shown in­ter­est in the po­si­tion, but was away on hol­i­day. “He in­di­cated he was on his way to a hol­i­day for two weeks when we ap­proached him. We will see what hap­pens when he comes back,” said the in­sider.

“As for Stu­art, we are not sure if Su­per­Sport can re­lease him now as they have set their eyes on the league cham­pi­onship.” Queiroz was un­able to take the post be­cause his em­ployer, the Ira­nian Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, asked for mil­lions in com­pen­sa­tion if he re­signed. Re­nard was ruled out after the par­ties failed to agree on terms.

City Press has learnt that ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Safa and Re­nard broke down at the last minute.

This was after the French­man made a cat­a­logue of bizarre de­mands.

He ap­par­ently de­manded he be al­lowed to bring along a sup­port team, which in­cluded three as­sis­tant coaches, among oth­ers.

Al­though con­tact was made with Broos’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the Bel­gian ap­par­ently wants to lead the In­domitable Lions at the Fifa Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup in Rus­sia in June, and in the 2019 Af­con fi­nals at home.

On Fri­day, Safa CEO Den­nis Mum­ble could only say that the an­nounce­ment of the new coach was im­mi­nent. How­ever, he would not give a spe­cific date. “We are try­ing to fi­nalise a deal that has proven dif­fi­cult to set­tle. We know we did not meet the tar­geted dead­line be­cause our tar­gets had obli­ga­tions else­where.

“Al­ready, two can­di­dates got into trou­ble with their em­ploy­ers after their names were men­tioned,” said Mum­ble.

How­ever, he said the new coach could be ap­pointed be­fore Bafana’s two friendly games be­fore the end of the month against Guinea-Bis­sau and An­gola.

This week, as­sis­tant coach Owen Da Gama was given the re­spon­si­bil­ity to lead the team in the two games.

Da Gama named one of the strong­est pos­si­ble squads for the friendlies.

He has re­called over­seas-based Kamo­h­elo Mokotjo and Ker­mit Eras­mus, both of whom were out of favour with Mashaba.

Credit should also be given to Da Gama for not pick­ing Or­lando Pi­rates play­ers.

Due to their cur­rent form, no Pi­rates player de­serves a place in the na­tional team – they need to first show their form at club level be­fore be­ing con­sid­ered for the na­tional side.

The same ap­plies to Eleazar Rodgers, who is hardly get­ting game time at Bid­vest Wits. The lanky striker was Bafana’s best player in the World Cup qual­i­fiers against Sene­gal and Burk­ina Faso, but lost his place in the team be­cause of his club form.

How­ever, Da Gama needs to be con­sis­tent with his se­lec­tion. He has raised eye­brows with the se­lec­tion of 35-year-old Shu-Aib Wal­ters. The Cape Town City player is on form for his side, but his in­clu­sion in Bafana does not fit in with the youth de­vel­op­ment goals of Safa’s Vi­sion 2022 plan.

PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPIX

GAME CHANGER Owen Da Gama will over­see Bafana’s friendly games

PHOTO: AUBREY KGAKATSI / BACKPAGEPIX

IN THE PIC­TURE Stu­art Bax­ter is be­ing con­sid­ered for the Bafana job

PHOTO: JAMIE MCDON­ALD / GETTY IMAGES

IN THE MIX Ruud Krol has been ap­proached to take charge of Bafana

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