Koketso Ramorei
1 minute read
19 Jul 2014
6:00 am

Barker tips Keshi for Bafana job

Koketso Ramorei

University of Pretoria coach Steve Barker has backed Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi to take over the reins at Bafana Bafana.

Former Nigeria national team coach Stephen Keshi. Picture: AFP

The South African Football Association (Safa) has indicated that it would not renew outgoing coach Gordon Igesund’s contract.

The new coach is expected to be announced on Saturday next week and if it were down to Barker, Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt would have been his first preference.

“I think Gavin Hunt should have got the job initially,” said Barker, “if they were looking for a local coach, I thought he would have been a good candidate.

“But Stephen Keshi is African, he understands African football. He has won the African Cup of Nations. He is familiar with the thinking and the background of African teams.

“But there are lots of other names in the bag of people who seem to have pedigree.”

Barker is preparing his troops for the annual Gauteng Cup at Lucas Moripe Stadium tomorrow. Tuks, together with cross-town rivals Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Moroka Swallows will be gunning for the title and the province’s bragging rights.

Barker said it will be difficult without 24-year-old defender Buhle Mkhwanazi, who has joined the Clever Boys.

“It is a big blow for us. At the same time there is a bigger picture to the university, it is an institution that is here to develop future leaders and players. It is sad to have lost a player of his calibre but we are proud that we played a part in his wishes to play for Bafana Bafana.

“This season should strike the right balance between being defensively solid while also being mindful that we have to score more goals. It is going to be tough, but we are ready.”