The SA Football Association (Safa) has not reacted to media speculation that former Manchester United midfielder Quinton Fortune is earmarked for the job as one of Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter’s assistants.
A report in a daily newspaper has suggested that Fortune will make a Bafana return, but SAFA has denied that any such move is in the pipeline.
New Bafana coach Baxter, in the aftermath of the recent victory over Nigeria in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, made no secret of the fact that he wants to draw one of the former Bafana players into the national team coaching set-up.
At the moment, SA Under-20 coach Thabo Senong is the first assistant, but Baxter wants a second assistant who is in tune with the Bafana atmosphere and dressing-room, and just as clued up with the trends of the modern game.
Fortune certainly fits the bill, having played 47 times for Bafana and the added experience of having represented the country at the 1998 and 2002 World Cup. As a coach, he has only worked with Cardiff City’s Under-21 squad alongside former Man United teammate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. So, if brought on to the Bafana technical team, it would be the perfect opportunity for Fortune to grow as a coach.
Originally from Kewtown in Cape Town, a township very close to Athlone Stadium, Fortune left his home town at the age of 14 to seek his football fortune abroad. Initially slated to play for Tottenham Hotspur in England, his plans were derailed by work permit issues. It resulted in a move to Spain, where he spent time at Real Mallorca and Atlético before returning to England to sign for United in 1999.
Now 40 years old, Fortune has always been open about his desire to return to Bafana in a coaching capacity. He is keen to pass on the benefit of his vast experience to the next generation – and it’s now all up to Baxter as to whether Fortune is the right man at the right time for the job.
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