SOUTH African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan will return to SA today to attend a crucial national executive committee meeting that will decide Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund’s future in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Jordaan did not travel with Bafana when they flew to New Zealand yesterday morning, remaining in Sydney to attend meetings in Australia before returning to Johannesburg today.
The Safa president said while he would have loved to accompany Bafana on the second leg of their tour down under, he had to be present when his executive finally put an end to the ongoing uncertainty over Igesund’s position with the national team.
The crucial meeting will, among other things, also decide suspended Safa vice-president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana’s fate and appoint a new Safa technical director.
Igesund’s contract will expire in a few weeks’ time but it seems the members of the Safa executive are determined to announce a decision in the coming days.
“As you all know Gordon Igesund is coming to the end of his term and there will be a review after the next match [against New Zealand] and then a final decision on his fate,” he said.
Jordaan said Safa could not afford to dilly dally around the matter any longer as Bafana would begin their qualifiers for the 2015 African Nations Cup in September.
“We have to settle these issues and as soon as Gordon is back in SA we will be able to make the announcement around these matters. Either the current coach [Igesund] or a new coach must hit the ground running.
“We are in a tough group. We have Sudan, we have Nigeria and then the fourth team could be anyone from Namibia, Congo Brazzaville or even Libya. So that fourth team also will not be easy.
“Therefore you cannot have a coach who has no understanding of the players and the strength of South African football, or has not even seen the team play. So it will have to be somebody who, as you say, can hit the ground running.”
Igesund has remained confident that employers will allow him to continue and begin planning for the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers. He will hope that Bafana’s 1-1 draw with Australia on Monday was enough to convince his employers.
Jordaan said they did not have a replacement in mind should they elect to get rid of Igesund and it would be left in the hands of the Safa technical committee.
“We have a technical committee led by Natasha Tsichlas. People like Lucas Radebe are also there and they will make the recommendation to us. I am sure they are already busy with evaluations and we will see what recommendations they come up with.”
Nonkonyana was suspended in October after he said Igesund should quit if he failed to reach the final of the African Nation Championships in January this year.
The Safa executive members have been in disagreement over whether the chief should be allowed back into the fold, but it seems they have finally made up their minds and his fate will also be confirmed at the weekend.
The appointment of a technical director will finally fill a vacancy that has remained open for two years and Jordaan said it was one of the most crucial cogs of the Safa machine.
“The technical director is the person who must implement the overall vision of South African football. Fifa has got involved in the appointment of technical directors and they also want to know who our technical director is.
“In most African countries, they insist that the person has a master’s degree and we would also look at those things.” – Mninawa Ntloko