/ 22 October 2009

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.

Jonathan Jansen
Whatever your view Jansen’s decision to drop disciplinary charges against four former students involved in a racist video, the vice-chancellor is to be applauded for his efforts to transform the university.

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

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2. Selebi trial: Recusal bid shocks observers
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4. Mthethwa racks up another massive hotel bill
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6. The Agliotti tapes: Take three
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9. The Reitz four and limited reconciliation
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10. Forget forgiveness
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