What the new Bafana coach has to bring to the table
● The question should not be who will be the next Bafana Bafana coach. It also should not be who will take over from Danny Jordaan when the SA Football Association (Safa) holds its election next year.
The million-rand question is: what kind of person do we want to be a Bafana coach?
The moment is opportune for us to get brutal with ourselves and confront uncomfortable truths.
For a start, we should not be happy with what we have been happy with all along, celebrating a leadership change in the Safa corridors of power.
Pardon me if you’re having your breakfast as you read this, but it has proved to be the same poo but different toilet.
Whoever raises their hand to replace Jordaan — surely he is not planning to pull an Issa Hayatou on Safa — must tell the nation what they will do differently. Repeating the same rigmarole would be an exercise in infantile stupidity.
The person who ascends the throne must tell us how they are going to improve on the vision 2022 which was shattered into a thousand tiny pieces last Sunday. Even if a Pitso Mosimane were to ditch Al Ahly today, a highly unlikely scenario, and head home for a second coming at Bafana, will he be as successful with the national team as he was with Sundowns?
If we use our league as the benchmark of success, the key positions such as goalkeeper (Dennis Onyango, Uganda), central defender (Ricardo Nascimento, Brazil) and leading striker (Peter Shalulile, Namibia), are occupied by non South Africans.
If we extract another example from our league, Mosimane remains the only coach who comes from this country who
The moment is opportune for us to get brutal with ourselves and confront uncomfortable truths
has made it big elsewhere.
Benni McCarthy? My gut says he would rather fulfil his burning desire to coach Kaizer Chiefs than soil his young career with Safa. He has a good gig in Durban with AmaZulu.
As a precondition, the new man must have experience of playing the qualifiers. A Milutin Sredejovic would have been a contender. He has extensive knowledge of the continent. But he is attending to an unpalatable matter in a court of law.
Eric Tinkler fits the bill, some say. One must hasten to caution that he is a club coach who does not have international experience.
He did take Orlando Pirates (2013) and SuperSport United (2017) to the final of the Confederation of African Football Confederation Cup.
But a national team gig is difficult. A coach only has a week, sometimes less, to get his squad together and prepare for a result whereas at club level he has the players at his disposal and plenty of time to plan and plot.
If you want to go to Qatar, you must be clear about who will lead.
What do we want when we choose the next coach in the context of the type of players we have that play locally and the ones who sit on the bench overseas or bubbling under the surface on the fringes of first-team selection.
We have a professional league. But do we have professional players whose careers are governed by the premium principle of scaling the heights of excellence? Players who are personally primed to challenge themselves to not just reach the pinnacle but to stay there?
In our league, a player becomes a sweepstakes winner and cleans out the end-of-season player awards. But in the following term, the hero of the previous season is nowhere to be found.
They don’t die or go to prison for life or suffer a career-ending injury. They just become so pedestrian even the word is aggrieved to be associated with them.
Percy Tau is the exception to the rule by pushing himself to English Premier League level. But even he is struggling at lowly Brighton and Hove Albion.
They will promise to do better at Safa House in Nasrec. But in the words of Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn: “We know they are lying. They know they are lying. They know we know they are lying. We know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying.”