Safa have decided to get rid of Joel Santana – fewer than eight months before the 2010 World Cup!
His critics had certainly moaned and groaned after his recent record of defeats – against teams like Brazil, Spain, Germany, Norway and Serbia, all of whom were ranked higher than Bafana.
But the flip side is that South Africa’s ranking dropped from 73 to 85.
So let’s see who Safa decide to bring in. There has been speculation that it will be Carlos Alberto Parreira, who, by the way, was fired from his most recent job.
Personally, I think it was a hasty decision based more on boiling emotion rather than cold reason. I thought Bafana had shown great signs of improvement during the Confederations Cup, where they made the semifinal.
I wonder how much Safa will have to pay Santana to go? And I wonder how much more they will have to pay to bring a replacement in? And if there is a whole lot of extra cash being dished out, I wonder what sort of improvement we can expect from Bafana Bafana?
I also have to wonder if the recent appointment of Kirsten Nematandani as Safa president didn’t have something to do with this decision, given the amount of flak the poor soccer boss has faced.
Bafana Bafana fans might be surprised by the bout of optimism displayed by coach Joel Santana, but they probably don’t realise that this is a Brazilian trait.
Brazil coach Dunga was equally optimistic after his team’s draw against Venezuela this week, saying the result would keep their feet on the ground going into the World Cup. A big win, he said, would have created a “certain euphoria”.
So on the plus side – Bafana Bafana will have their feet on the ground going into the World Cup!
Perhaps the local fans, who expect the SA football team to beat the world’s best sides, shouldn’t keep their heads in the clouds.
A Johannesburg daily newspaper is reporting that Carlos Alberto Parreira is ready to return as Bafana Bafana coach, as soon as Joel Santana is fired. It’s not the first time that Parreira has reportedly been on the brink of returning to the SA coaching set-up, so let’s see what happens.
But Safa have denied the report saying that Sanatana has three more matches to sort out his hassles with the team – do those three games include tonight’s friendly against Iceland?
Santana has a record of 10 wins, 13 losses and three draws (Parreira was 11 wins, six losses and four draws), which is hardly inspiring. But when your team is ranked 70-something in the world, and is playing against stronger opposition, then surely that’s not necessarily too bad? I don’t particularly have strong feelings about Santana – I never knew him before he was appointed, although Brazilian journalists have assured me he’s a good coach – but I do think we need to let our coaches stick around for a while.
We all remember Jake White as the hero of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but who can recall those stormy times before when he was so nearly fired? And what about Mickey Arthur, coach of the Proteas, who has also faced calls to be axed? Look where the Proteas are now!!
By the way, Parreira never had the satisfaction of Bafana beating a European team (he lost to Scotland and Italy), although his finest hour was probably that 3-0 victory over Paraguay.Santana has overseen Bafana wins over European opposition, namely Norway and Poland at home. New Zealand is the only other non-African team he’s beaten.
Would Bafana, under Parreira, have fared any better against the level of opposition they’ve faced in recent months? By the way, apart from Paraguay, the only other non-African team he successfully beat was Canada. I find it ironic that those calling for Santana’s head would welcome Parreira back – Parreira is the one who recommended Santana for the Bafana job in the first place!
Whatever happens, there are interesting times ahead.
South African soccer should take a different approach to the World Cup – and leave the coach alone for a change.
It seems the knives are out for Joel Santana, especially if Bafana Bafana lose against Iceland tomorrow night. What sort of nonsense is this? South Africa are ranked 73rd in the world, while Iceland are way lower than 96. Quite honestly, what will a win mean anyway?
Bafana have lost seven of their last eight matches, and the critics say this is unacceptable. What are these people smoking? The seven matches lost by Bafana were against superior opposition (Norway are ranked 43rd; Ireland 38th; Serbia 13th, Germany fourth, Spain second – we lost twice to them at the Confederations Cup, including 3-2 after extra time – and Brazil No1.
Yes, there are some important questions that need answering, especially those around Benni McCarthy. But that’s more a Safa issue than a Santana issue, I suspect. Bafana need a classy striker capable of putting the ball in the opponents’ net, and that is something they’ve been missing to date.
But with regards to Santana, he’s got the team playing excellent soccer – he proved that at the Confederations Cup. This may come as a shock to some SA soccer supporters, but Bafana Bafana are not going to win the 2010 World Cup!! Nevertheless, there’s no reason why the team can’t play decent football and do us proud. That is all I ask – to exit the World Cup with our heads held high.
Firing the coach at this stage ain’t gonna help. If you want to sack anyone, let’s start with Raymond Hack and work our way though the Safa head honchos. They are replaceable – Santana won’t be that easy to replace just nine months before kick-off. And who would replace him? Jomo Sono? Don’t make me laugh.
Let’s live and let live, guys (and let’s bring Benni back).
Bafana Bafana deserve a limerick for their memorable performance in Limerick, so here goes:
There was a soccer team called Bafana
Who hoped to get as good as Ghana
But they were less than fair
Losing 1-0 to Eire
So give another million to Santana!
(Hopefully Bafana will never play in Sonnet, Ode or Iambic Pentametre)