For weeks – I wouldn’t put the possibility of months past our beleaguered national football bosses – speculation will be rife and everybody will have a chance to put their two cents in.
Your mate will be set on Gavin Hunt, your brother might think getting Pitso Mosimane back is a great idea and then there will be that outspoken colleague who’ll be convinced that only a big name like Guus Hiddink will suffice “to sort these spoilt brats out’’.
Every other newspaper and website will keep you up to date with shortlists of candidates, they will tell you that they have exclusively learned of a conversation between a well-known international coach and Safa officials only for these rumours to be denied by both parties at a later stage, details of salary negotiations will surface, at some stage Safa will address the media on the progress of the situation without saying anything at all and finally make a major announcement over who will take over the poisoned chalice.
And straight away Safa will either be lauded, yes, sometimes they actually are: read Carlos Alberto Parreira. Or they will be scrutinised over the suitability of the newly-chosen candidate, none more so than with Parreira’s seat-warmer Joel Santana.
But whoever gets the nod, he will ultimately be judged on whether or not he qualifies Bafana for the World Cup. If by some miracle he does, he’ll be an instant hero, if he doesn’t, he’ll be hung out to dry as the scapegoat. But even if he does get the team to Russia and keeps his job, chances are he’ll fail to qualify Bafana for Afcon 2019 and then he’ll be boot ed out anyway.
And then another cycle will be be completed and the above-mentioned order of events will repeat itself, with the exception of a change of name here and there. If the suits over at Safa haven’t realised by now that the identity of the person sitting in the hot seat is actually quite irrelevant, they never will. Apart from the mumbling idiot that was Santana, Safa’s choice of coaches hasn’t actually been that bad at all.
Just look at Stuart Baxter, Parreira, Mosimane, Igesund and Shakes Mashaba’s overall track records. How bad can Baxter be after what he has achieved at Kaizer Chiefs? Mashaba has enjoyed impeccable success across all levels he has been involved in.
Igesund has won the league with four different clubs and took unfancied Moroka Swallows to within an inch of the title. Mosimane has won every local prize on offer and could be conquering Africa soon, and Parreira has won the World Cup (1994).
The national coach isn’t supposed to magically create the end product out of thin air, but rather guide an end product the system has provided him with to the best of his ability. If all of these guys could have done that at club level, but failed to at the helm of Bafana, then clearly there is something wrong with the system.
But why admit to such extremities if we can just pass the buck and fire the coach?