/ 22 October 2009

Tovey backs Barker for Bafana hot seat

The South African Football Association (Safa) should appoint a local coach such as Clive Barker to take Bafana Bafana to the 2010 World Cup finals and beyond, former team captain and current AmaZulu coach Neil Tovey says.

He was speaking ahead of Friday’s Safa national executive meeting in Kempton Park, where the soccer body is set to announce the successor to Brazilian Joel Santana, who quit as Bafana head coach on Monday.

But while Tovey and most Premier Soccer League coaches support a local coach to replace Santana, it is rumoured that former Bafana and Brazil head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira will be named his successor.

Parreira, who won the 1994 World Cup with Brazil, quit as Bafana’s coach last April, citing his wife’s illness as the reason for leaving. But many believe that Parreira was upset by the way then Safa officials interfered during his time as Bafana coach.

However, Parreira said he would only accept the job if he negotiated personally with Safa and not via the telephone.

Parreira told the South African Press Association’s source in Rio de Janeiro: ”I do not do business over the phone. I need to conduct business like this [being offered a coaching position] personally.”

The other strong possibility was that former Bafana coach Jomo Sono would be appointed as Bafana technical director.

It is believed that Sono would work with Parreira and that the two Bafana assistant coaches, Pitso Mosimane and Brazilian Jairo Leal, would be retained by Parreira.

Tovey said he was happy that Santana resigned after a disastrous 17-month reign in which Bafana had gone backwards and are now 85th in the Fifa world rankings.

”Santana had to go. The players had lost their confidence and it was showing.

”I support a local coach to take us to the World Cup and further. Barker would be my choice as he has the experience of leading Bafana to triumph in the 1996 African Nations Cup final,” said Tovey.

”We need a coach to rebuild the players’ broken morale and give them back their confidence, and Barker would be perfect. He has the pedigree and I believe he should be given the job.”

Barker was a brilliant man manager when he led Bafana to their 2-0 win over Tunisia in February 1996 in the final of the African Nations Cup at Soccer City.

However, on Parreira, Tovey said: ”I do not believe that he would take South African soccer forward. Parreira will leave after the World Cup and then what? We have to start all over again.

”If not Barker then we have Gavin Hunt [SuperSport United coach] and Pitso Mosimane [the Bafana assistant coach] to take the side to the World Cup. I strongly believe a local-born coach should be given this opportunity.”

Tovey suggested that former players such as himself, former captain Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish, Chippa Masinga, Andre Arendse and others could assist the technical team.

”As former national team players we have experience which we could impart to the current crop of Bafana players.”

On dropping to 85th in the world rankings, Tovey stressed that South Africa had talented players but had to go out and identify them.

”Once we identify them then we must move heaven and earth and make sure that they evolve and play in the biggest leagues in the world. Playing at the top at club level will see Bafana rise up again.”

Former Bafana striker Marks Maponyane said he had expected Santana to be axed

Said the former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates star: ”It is all about results. If a coach fails to win he is out, it is that simple.

”But Safa need to take note and get the right man.

”It is late and things are not looking good for Bafana at the World Cup. We do not have much time to get the side right.” — Sapa