Benni McCarthy could be the perfect candidate for the Bafana Bafana job after Pitso Mosimane, with Safa also looking for someone who’ll develop and transform the team, writes Mihlali Baleka.
JOHANNESBURG – The South African Football Association must be one of the most consistent organisations when it comes to the firing of coaches who’ve failed to deliver on the mandate to qualify for major tournaments, continentally and internationally.
But perhaps it’s time for introspection, given that the association is responsible for either end: hiring and firing. Safa will hire their record eighth Bafana Bafana coach in the last 10 years by the end of tomorrow after sacking Molefi Ntseki.
Ntseki was shown the exit door after failing to guide the senior men’s national team to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon early next year, missing out on the qualification after a humbling defeat to Sudan in the last game of the qualifiers.
Since firing Ntseki, the technical committee has been working around the clock to find the new Bafana coach, trimming more than 200 applicants to a handful of candidates whose names were submitted to the national executive committee for the final evaluation.
The association is expected to announce and unveil the new coach at their plum headquarters in Nasrec, South of Johannesburg, on Saturday in a highly anticipated press conference.
But they’d better make sure it’s the right person – and the people’s choice – to avoid another biennial cycle of hiring a new coach. Or else, nobility should reign, and heads should roll from NEC president Danny Jordaan to the rest of the members.
While it’s been kept a top secret on who’s expected to land the Bafana job, some interesting names have been thrown in the hat – notably former Bafana coaches Carlos Queiroz, Philippe Troussier and son of the soil, Pitso Mosimane.
Troussier and Queiroz boast records of coaching the national team in the 1998 World Cup, and inspiring the team to the 2002 global showpiece respectively. But my – and almost everyone’s – preferred candidate is Mosimane, the darling of South African coaching.
After being sacked by Safa nine years ago, after failing to qualify for the Afcon finals, Mosimane went on to amass incredible success at Mamelodi Sundowns and African Club of the Century, Al Ahly.
The Kagiso-born coach has been reported to have put his foot down, saying he’s not ready to return to Bafana, given the way he was relieved of his duties the last time out, while he’s happy in his current job in the land of the Pharaohs.
Benni McCarthy, the Bafana all-time top goal scorer, could therefore be the perfect candidate after Mosimane, with Safa also looking for someone who’ll develop and transform the team, despite the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers around the corner.
Well, that sounds like a smart ultimatum, given that the new Bafana coach has to also embrace the project of the Under-23s who’ll be playing in the Tokyo Olympic Games this July – with three overage players selected from the senior national team.
I say if Pitso doesn’t want the job, give it to Benni!