We've been short-changed, Safa

In the cold light of day, and as the dust settles following the overdue departure of Bafana coach Joel Santana, there is a sense of wonder as to how we find ourselves in this position.

Do we need to pinch ourselves to make sure it really happened?

Following the hasty departure of highly experienced coach Carlos Alberto Parreira for personal reasons last year, and with the Soccer World Cup fast approaching, our national football association, with no shortage of money at its disposal, proceeded to hire an unknown dud as coach.

With the eyes of the world on South Africa, and tasked with making the home team at least competitive at the World Cup, the South African Football Association (Safa) went with an obscure choice of coach that confounded predictions and expectations.

Santana may have been one of those recommended by Parreira to Safa as his successor (and reports suggest he also recommended coaches of far greater pedigree), but there was near countrywide scepticism on Santana’s announcement.

At a reported salary of more than R1-million a month, South Africa found itself with a coach who refused to speak English, confounded the media and public with sometimes bizarre team selections, and led Bafana on a defensive-minded dance of mediocre football and meagre results.

Granted, successful Bafana coaches have been few and far between (and there was some optimism at Bafana’s “heroic defeats” at the recent Confederations Cup), but it seems Safa set itself up for a fall with this strange decision.

Inevitably there were reports this week of finger-pointing within Safa as to who should carry the blame for the Santana failure.

But does it really matter?

Safa appointed him, and Safa is answerable. Does Joe Public really care about who specifically pulled the strings, or whether the new Safa executive pins the blame on the old executive?

The feeling is that we’ve been short-changed by an organisation that hasn’t really covered itself in glory in the past.

FULL SPEED AHEAD NOT SO FAST
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Joel Santana
Goodbye, and good riddance.
After a dismal run of results, Santana’s controversial reign as Bafana coach ended this week after he stepped down. Is there enough time to pick up the pieces ahead of next year’s World Cup?

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October 15 to 21 2009

1. ANC’s civil war with the left hots up
The battle lines have been drawn between moderates and leftists in the ANC following a stern warning by ANC president Jacob Zuma that the left should not flex its muscles over deployments in government. 

2. Selebi trial: Recusal bid shocks observers
A third secret videotape and Judge Meyer Joffe’s irritation with Jackie Selebi’s lawyer quoting from a newspaper article were probably the catalysts for Selebi’s shock request that Joffe withdraw from his corruption trial.

3. Selebi’s woes are far from over
He was exposed as a barefaced liar, a suave scumbag with no scruples ‘knocking” millions off the wealthy in exchange for access to his ‘cash cop”. Yet Glenn Agliotti remains the state’s primary witness in its corruption case against former police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

4. Mthethwa racks up another massive hotel bill
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has racked up another five-star hotel bill, this time worth over R570 000 in Durban, the Sunday Independent reported.

5. Govt policy guru Netshitenzhe resigns
The sudden resignation of the government’s policy guru, Joel Netshitenzhe, sent shockwaves through government circles on Tuesday.

6. The Agliotti tapes: Take three
A third secret video was submitted to the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday—this time of drug lord Glenn Agliotti speaking to crime intelligence boss Mulangi Mphego in his Pretoria office in 2003.

7. A ‘third force’ at work in Selebi trial?
Is there a “third force” at work in the trial of former top cop Jackie Selebi? That was the suggestion by Judge Meyer Joffe in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday morning.

8. M&G denies attending Scorpions ‘indaba’
The Mail & Guardian‘s editor-in-chief, Nic Dawes, denied on Thursday that a journalist of the paper attended an “indaba” with the Scorpions to discuss campaigning against former police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

9. The Reitz four and limited reconciliation
The Reitz four. They could be a band. Or a singing troupe at the very least. You know—powder-blue suits, crèmed hair and toothy grins. Afrikaans acapella—why hasn’t that been done yet?

10. Forget forgiveness
It’s easier to pass an arms deal through the eye of a needle, than it is to forgive the disgusting behaviour of Johnny Roberts, Danie Grobler, Schalk van der Merwe and Roelof Malherbe—the four Reitz men that made a wrong.

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