After months of courting big name coaches in football to take over the hot Bafana head coach seat vacated by the analogue Shakes Mashaba, Dr Danny Jordan led SAFA seems to have found their man.
In a well-documented junket that took Dr Jordan from Pretoria to Zambia and Iran in an attempt to lure the man entrusted with the future of South African football. The man chosen to take charge of our national team obviously was not SAFA’s first choice. Believe it or not, Carlos Queiroz led rumour mill and a lot of bookmakers channelled all their bets towards former Manchester United No 2 taking charge at Bafana. It looked as if though a deal has been struck until the Iranian FA pull the rug underneath and demanded at least R20m for Queiroz signature, a staggering amount SAFA could not afford during this depressing economic time.
Quickly the spotlight fell onto French man Herve Renard, who led both Ivory Coast and Zambia winning AFCON tournaments in recent times. Amongst the shortlisted coaches, Renard came out tops regarding his experience on the African continent but was always going to come second to Quieroz who’s perceived to be close to SAFA president Dr Danny Jordan. Renard even wrote a letter to SAFA, just to show he’s equally interested in the vacant position. Discussions took place, however, both parties couldn’t reach an agreement. Our deep throat mole tells us, SAFA and Renard couldn’t agree on a key issue that the latter wanted to bring along his own technical and back office staff to South Africa. In a country where unemployment is sitting at more than 20%, it was a no-brainer that SAFA would kick that idea into the ocean, fearing public backlash.
Fast forward SAFA has finally settled for none other than Mr Stuart Baxter, currently in charge of Supersport United. Baxter enjoyed success with Soweto outfit Kaizer Chiefs in the domestic league. What is more interesting is that both Baxter and Queiroz are return soldiers to Bafana. The Englishman got fired from his Bafana role after failing to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. By the look of things we have pinned our hopes on Baxter to deliver us to 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, and the road will not be an easy one.
There’s just one sticking point before Baxter finally signs on the dotted line. He wants to bring along his son Lee, to be part of the technical team as a goalkeeper coach. Remember Renard story above? SAFA head honchos are at a tight corner on this, and the likely hood of acceding to Baxter’s demands is highly possible. However, they will have to justify this kind of set up, to the unforgiving South Africans, on top of the purported R1m monthly paycheck to be hand over to this man. In a South African context, this may be seen as direct nepotism.
The practice of coaches bringing their own staff is being done throughout the world, where one wants to work with people that fully understand his philosophy and get the best of out his players. Success or non-success thereof lies with the coach and his own technical team. He’s fully accountable.
Now, why is this phenomenon not allowed in South Africa especially in the national team?
I guess the answer lies with the fact that, the experienced coach must exercise skills transfer to a team of assistant coaches, which SAFA allocate to work with him. In lieu of stabilising the team, SAFA should allow Baxter to bring along a certain number of staff into the team whether they’re related or not. This is football, we need results. We want to book our ticket to Russia at all cost.