Just how far will Safa’s cash go?

Carlos Queiroz (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali / Gallo Images)

Carlos Queiroz (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali / Gallo Images)

Back in February, when asked whether affordability was a factor in Bafana Bafana appointing a new head coach, South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan said the following: “Nowhere do we mention affordability (in our coaching criteria). When you say ‘can you afford it’, I am asking you ‘can we afford not to afford it when someone is clearly the best man for the job’.”

Well, if a report in this weekend’s Sunday Times is to be believed, there is a line where Safa have not been prepared to cross financially for their number one target for the job – Carlos Queiroz.

A €7 million resignation clause (about R96 million) to get the Portuguese away from his job with Iran is cited as the reason why the association are no longer pursuing the man who guided Bafana to the 2002 World Cup.

Now that does appear a slightly absurd amount of cash to pay for a coach on top of the likely obscene monthly salary that Queiroz would demand. And yet it also indicates that the funds that Safa have at their disposal are not quite as limitless as Jordaan’s comments appear to suggest.

If the rumours are true, Safa have decided they cannot afford their “best man for the job”.

Not that I think Safa should have gone for Queiroz in the first place. My pick would always have been Herve Renard, who the same story reports is “almost certain” to be appointed. Renard has the continental pedigree that Queiroz does not, winning two Africa Cup of Nations with two different countries and one of his previous employers, Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya, speaks to us on page 3.

I happen to have my doubts as to whether the appointment of Renard will go smoothly, with many other African countries also said to be chasing his signature, and with his current country, Morocco, also unlikely to give him up without a fight, or at least another healthy dose of cash. Jordaan’s commitment to loosening his purse strings is likely to be tested again.

Whoever does take over as Bafana head coach looks to have a decent crop of young players to choose from, particularly in attack, following Amajita’s impressive display in Zambia in qualifying for the Under-20 World Cup.

Luther Singh has been particularly impressive with his link-up play as well as his goals, and really does look like some prospect. Platinum Stars’ young attacking midfielder Kabomelo Kodisang was also brilliant against Sudan on Sunday, coming on and changing the complexion of the game. And all who watch Premier Soccer League football are well aware of the talent and speed of Phakamani Mahlambi.

Amajita have been less convincing at the back, and will probably need to tighten up if they are not to be beaten by the hosts in tomorrow’s semifinal.

In a sense, the job has already been done, but it would still be nice to see South Africa win a tournament like this and that would give even more confidence to these youngsters.

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