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Let's back Santana

By unknown | Apr 30, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

South Africans should support the new Bafana Bafana coach, Joel "Mr Jackpot" Santana, in his efforts to assemble a well-oiled team for the 2010 World Cup.

This is a plea from Mandla "Shoes" Mazibuko, Safa national executive committee member and Bafana Bafana head of delegation.

Mazibuko was speaking at the Sowetan Extra Time session, presented in association with and Famous Grouse, in Meadowlands on Saturday.

The monthly session was attended by various soccer legends including Blessing Mngidi, Richard Lata, James Mkhwanazi, Finky Sekete, Nkosi Molala, Brain Tlale, Zero Johnson, MacDonald Skosana and Gloria Hlalele .

Mazibuko said the departure of Carlos Alberto Parreira was not a train smash because joint assistant coaches Jairo Leal and Pitso Mosimane would continue with his philosophy and vision.

"In my personal view, we should fully support Santana. Under the circumstances, I'm satisfied with the arrangement," said Mazibuko.

"I know everybody has his opinion on the matter. We could not allow for a vacuum after the resignation of Parreira, it was an emergency situation and we had to get a coach.

"It is not going to be a blank cheque for Mr Santana from Safa, it will be a performance-related contract."

Santana, also known as the "Guitar Man", will arrive in South Africa on May 9 after signing a contract with Safa chief executive Raymond Hack on Sunday night.

Despite having no experience of playing or coaching at national level, Santana will earn R1,3 million a month after resigning from his job at Brazilian giants Flamengo.

Mazibuko pointed out that there was a clause in Leal's contract with Safa that allowed him to leave if Parreira was no longer guiding Bafana Bafana.

"The president of Safa [Molefi Oliphant] is on record as saying Jairo will remain with Bafana Bafana. Safa asked Parreira to persuade him not to leave," Mazi- buko said.

"If Jairo would not have continued with the team, it would have put us in disarray."

Mazibuko went on to say he was satisfied with the reasons Parreira gave for quitting Bafana Bafana before the end of his contract in 2010.

"We had a farewell function for the coach at the World of Beer on Friday where I had a chat with him.

"The coach told me that he was missing his family. He could no longer focus on his job. He said he was quite disappointed that he could not complete the job."

Mazibuko saidwhat might come as a big shock to many South Africans was that Parreira's wife, Laila had visited this country three times this year.

On the issue of the World Cup preparations, Mazibuko said there was no shred of doubt that Bafana Bafana were well on course.

"We have proved during the game against Paraguay that we are on track. We have also employed a video analyst to help us as part of the preparations.

"We get reports every Monday on the performance of South African players based abroad - it is a very detailed report.

"It is on the basis of these reports that we know how every player is doing. It also includes injuries. If a player is injured we get to know what is the problem."

During the question and answer session, legend Chris "Speak It" Ngcobo wanted to know from Mazibuko if Safa was doing anything for former players.

"It's valid, Safa might not be doing enough. But we have Pitso Mosimane, he has played abroad and is now assistant coach of Bafana Bafana.

"Teboho Moloi is the coach of Majimbos [Under-17 national team]. As for Lucas Radebe, we are not sure what he wants to do, be it as a manager or coach.

"We won't appoint people until we know where they want to add value, we can't just appoint people purely because they are former players," explained Mazibuko.

Other former players working for Safa include Steve Komphela (Under-23s), August Makalakalane (Banyana Banyana), Serame Letsoaka (Amajita) and Kenneth Kubheka (Safa head of coaching).

Mazibuko also went on to urge the soccer legends to merge and form one national structure that would look after their interests.

"There are 32 000 schools that we urge our legends to adopt. That will also be good in terms of the development of soccer in our areas."

The straight-talking Ngcobo also urged Safa to call a national indaba of the former players where the development of the sport would be discussed.

"We appeal to Safa to take us seriously," he said.

Mazibuko also agreed that former footballers should be accredited by the Premier Soccer League and Safa. He reasoned that this will enable them to watch matches for free rather than be chased away by security personnel at stadiums.

With a number of former football greats unemployed, this gesture would be a form of recognition by the PSL and Safa of the contribution made by former greats in entertaining the masses, particularly during the dark days of apartheid.


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