By Maxwell Levine
The beleaguered Bafana Bafana, who have failed to qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations (Afcon)are in a race to find a suitable replacement, after unceremoniously sacking Molefi Ntseki.
This embarrassment left the top brass of the South African Football Association with no option but to fire the coach, hardly 20 months in charge. The 51-year-old Ntseki was tasked to guide the national football team to Afcon and the 2022 World Cup. He was in charge of nine matches, with a record of four wins, two draws and three defeats. One of the defeats the 2-0 drubbing at the hands of lowly Sudan in their final Afcon qualifier which kicked the South Africans out and with that handed Sudan a place in the continental showpiece.
With a quick turnaround to the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers as African teams face a congested fixture schedule due to the coronavirus, with the football bosses at SAFA having little time to find a replacement. Bafana kicks off their Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign on May 31.
A couple of high-profile coaches have been earmarked to take over the hot seat.
- Pitso Mosimane
Arguably the best local coach with a massive CV. The former Sundowns tactician made history as the most decorated coach in the PSL era. He has guided Sundowns to the CAF Champions league back in 2016. A former Bafana Bafana head coach between 2010 and 2012, Mosimane’s profile has reached new peaks, recently culminating in his appointment by Egyptian giants Al Ahly. Mosimane holds a football licence and it hasn’t stop him from furthering his footballing knowledge as he is currently busy with a UEFA coaching licence.
- Benni McCarthy
Benni McCarthy has shone in his rookie head coach since his first spell at Cape Town City while also making an impressive start to life this 2020/2021 season in Durban at Amazulu. He is South Africa’s all-time record gaol scorer. McCarthy played at top clubs overseas and have a UEFA Champions League medal with Porto. He also holds a UEFA coaching licence.
- Gavin Hunt
Hunt has long been touted as one of the best local coaches. Even at the appointment of Ntseki, he was a candidate to take over the Bafana coaching job. However, he has long said that he was too young for position of national team head coach, with his preference being the day-to-day duties of club football. Hunt is a five-time PSL winner and is highly respected, having always been in talks to one day take charge of the national outfit. He is currently coach at Kaizer Chiefs and one never knows, he might just surprise all and sundry and accept the Bafana Bafana coaching gig.
- Steve Komphela
Komphela could be the dark horse for the vacant Bafana Bafana coaching position. As an experienced coach with a distinguished history for Bafana Bafana as a player. Komphela has coached Kaizer Chiefs and Golden Arrows and is currently coaching at champions Sundowns.
SAFA have a complex situation at their hands to ultimately pick the right candidate. Bafana Bafana have been the laughing stock of African football. With one of the best leagues in the world in the PSL, one finds it strange how the national team is underperforming. Finding the right candidate could go a long way in restoring the dented pride of South African football.