SAFA has no intention to fire Santana

Monday, October 12, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Despite calls for Bafana head coach Joel Santana to pack his bags and leave, South African Football Association (SAFA) President Kirsten Nematandani said "the association has no intention to fire the Brazilian coach".

"We believe the coach needs support and we are trying everything possible and when 2010 comes around, Bafana Bafana should go places," he told BuaNews on Monday.

Santana has recently come under fire following the national team's string of poor performances especially after the FIFA Confederations Cup.

While Santana maintains that friendly matches can not be used as adequate measures to assess a team, fans on the other hand want him to face the music if he continues with his losing streak.

Since he became Bafana's coach, Santana has led the national team to their worst-ever run, losing seven matches in a row in eight games. The last embarrassing defeat was a 1-nil loss to Norway on Saturday.

Throughout the game, Bafana struggled to lift the tempo as they continued to play their defensive football.

While sensational midfielder, Teko Modise continued to give away balls to the opponents Santana did not replace him.

At the back, defender and Bafana's skipper Aaron Mokoena was again struggling to organise his defence to stop the onslaught of the Norwegian attacks.

The combination of Bafana's two deadly strikers Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker never worked out as Modise dismally failed to shoulder his responsibilities of distributing the balls to the two strikers.

However, there is still hope for Bafana and for Santana to turn the tide of South African football on Tuesday, when they play against Iceland.

Nematandani, who believes that Bafana will turn the corner against Iceland, also wished Santana and his boys' good luck. "We wish them good luck and we hope that they will play according to the coach's plan," he said.

It is hoped that former Bafana coaches Jomo Sono, Clive Barker and Supersport United coach, Gavin Hunt will indicate on their report to the association's executive committee that as the host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the country needs a team of the moment which consists of on form players.

The trio were appointed to assess the team's performance and to advice Santana.

However, others view the appointment of the trio as a ploy to familiarise themselves with the environment of the team before they take over from the head coach.

Santana has already welcomed the appointment of the three technical assessors. "I feel happy because all the speculation that I don't speak to the local coaches will end, now with this arrangement we will have more coaches to speak to about Bafana Bafana.

"I had a meeting with SAFA Vice-President Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana and he explained that the coaches were coming to help, so I am not worried. It's not always that people come to help but we have always been open."