Disarm your forces, Malema tells Khoza

African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema warned local soccer authorities on Tuesday that in-fighting could jeopardise the hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“Comrade Irvin [Khoza] must instruct his forces to disarm and all must be rallied behind the elective leadership,” said Malema, referring to the Premier Soccer League chairperson who lost Safa’s presidential race to Kirsten Nematandani last month.

Voting regions within Safa have disputed the election of Nematandani, who has since called for unity in the football fraternity.

“It is petty squabbles that are going to divert the attention of Safa [South African Football Association] from organising the World Cup ... which will be taking place in Africa for the first time.

“Whatever allegations ... that the elections were stolen ...
it is very important they put aside those differences. It cannot be that ... personal interests be put before the interests of the country,” Malema told a press briefing in Johannesburg.

He welcomed the new Safa leadership’s decision “to let Joel Santana vacate the position of head coach”.

Santana’s resignation was announced after a Safa management committee meeting on Monday, with only eight months to go before the 2010 World Cup.

Under his leadership, Bafana Bafana fell to 85th position on Fifa’s world rankings.

“We told the president of Safa Santana must go ... what you must do as new leadership, you must take a major decision by firing this man,” said Malema.

Malema was not impressed by rumours that another Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira may return to the position he vacated last year because his wife was seriously ill. He has been widely tipped to be making a come-back.

“If Parreira comes back, it would be a setback because we have won with our local coaches, we have not won anything with these foreign coaches. And we have made that point clear to Safa.”

Even if Bafana Bafana lost under a local coach, it would at least be in a “dignified way”, said Malema.

“We reaffirm our call for the appointment of a local coach to take Bafana to the World Cup in 2010. We want to lose or win under our own local coach. If we lose, we will lose under our own and we will appreciate and welcome those type of achievements.

“A local coach will do away with conspiracy theories ... on the loyalty of some of these coaches who are coming to coach even if they are not from here.

“A national coach must be a person who’s patriotic and pride himself on being South African ... who does not have a divided loyalty, who knows when he does not perform, not only the public ... but also his immediate family members… will complain to him directly.

“We need a person who will receive both pressures from all corners. To them [foreign coaches] it’s just about a job of their own ... it’s not about personal pride.”

Malema said all Bafana’s major victories happened under local coaches, such as the African Nations Cup win in 1996 under Clive Barker.

But Barker would not make the cut this time, if it was up to Malema.

“Why would we want to be coached by Shakes Mashaba, Jomo Sono or Clive Barker? They’re old. Let’s give the new ones an opportunity to emerge. The old must allow the new to be born ... and to rise in football.”

Malema’s first choice would be Lucas Radebe (40).

“We can build a solid team with Lucas Radebe as coach. Lucas expresses himself very clearly and independently. He’s not a stooge or tool of any individual in the football fraternity and that makes them very uncomfortable with this boy.”

He said this would also solve the problem of communicating with players—Santana was often criticised for his broken English.

“Lucas knows all these languages, including township lingo ... and the language these boys use to communicate.”

The former Bafana captain’s lack of coaching experience did not damper Malema’s enthusiasm.

“Like all the coaches, they’ve got their first time coaching [there has to be a first time],” he said.—Sapa

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