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Safa can’t afford to drop the ball with Bafana coach appointment

South Africa’s record for chopping and changing coaches over the years is not ideal.

It is wonderful news to hear that the South African Football Association (Safa) are taking the appointment of their new national coach very seriously.

South Africa’s record for chopping and changing coaches over the years is not ideal. The fact that this will be the 24th coaching change since readmission in 1992 is testament to this. And they’ve only got the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations title in 1996, a 1998 Africa Cup of Nations runners-up medal and two World Cup appearances in 1998 and 2002 to show for it, bearing in mind that they qualified for the 2010 World Cup as hosts.

South Africa have also failed to qualify for the continental showpiece in three of the last five tournaments. With our resources we should never not qualify for an Africa Cup of Nations.

Fast forward to 2017, and Safa are looking both locally and abroad for a man to fill former coach Shakes Mashaba’s shoes and change Bafana Bafana’s ordinary fortunes around. This week, Safa president Danny Jordaan appointed an 11-person search committee to decide on the new coach.

Picking a panel to identify our new national coach is a good idea. Picking quality former players Benni McCarthy, Neil Tovey and Lucas Radebe is clever thinking – as is opting for victorious 1996 Africa Cup of Nations coach Clive Barker. But 11 people? Come on.

Also many of the panel have played a hand in past appointments, with limited success. Why not opt for fresh blood?

The Safa bigwigs also want to wrap up their search by the end of this month. That’s less than two weeks to finalise the appointment.

Their plans could also hit a roadblock if Mashaba, sacked in December, wins a court application to stop Safa appointing a new coach until his CCMA case for unfair dismissal is heard early next month.

It’s an important year for Bafana as they have a really good chance of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia. But if they want to book their place at their fourth World Cup, they can’t afford to drop the ball.

Somehow it feels like we’ve seen this all before.

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