It had to happen sooner than later. Joel Santana stepped down as SA coach. After the invigorating display by the Bafana Bafana at the Confederations Cup this summer amidst the vuvuzelas, the team went into a tailspin.
Santana’s ultra cautious approach and reliance on two defensive midfielders stifled the team’s attacking instincts leading to eight losses in nine friendlies, the latest one coming against Iceland five days ago.
Jomo Sono and Clive Barker as well as SuperSport United’s Gavin Hunt were appointed assessors by SAFA’s new president Kirsten Nematandani to track Santana. But they were denied travel visas for the European friendlies and were waiting for the home games to Japan and Jamaica in November to file their assessment. Santana must have realized that his position was untenable even as he continued his defiance.
Now SAFA which has been inept in its coach selection has yet another chance to get this right. It is believed that Carlos Alberto Parreira might be heading back. Jairo Leal who arrived with Parreira in his previous stint as Bafana Bafana’s coach and continued as Santana’s assistant has been retained.
Parreira told Globo.com “There is a strong indication that they want to keep the Brazilian style which has adapted perfectly to South African football. There is a possibility of an invitation. I would be inclined to consider if by chance this happens.”
Other possibilities mentioned are Leo Beenhakker who was sacked recently as Poland’s national coach and SuperSport United’s Gavin Hunt.
Under Santana, Nasief Morris who was dropped for disciplinary issues before the Confederations Cup fell out of favour. The left wingback is at new club Racing Santander and has been playing regular minutes. Benni McCarthy was also ignored by Santana even as calls for his comeback mounted led by Didier Drogba and Jacob Zuma, SA’s president. A new coach might be able to bring a successful end to McCarthy’s international exile.