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By unknown | Apr 02, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The South African Football Association must act now and fire Joel Natalino Santana.

It would be a waste of time to wait for the end of the Confederations Cup in June to show the clueless coach the door.

From the day that Santana started working with the team in June last year he has brought us nothing but shame. The lowest light was when we failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations finals for the first time since 1996.

This was a disgrace for a country that many across the globe were saving money to visit for the 2010 World Cup, the first ever finals of this quadrennial soccer spectacle to take place in Africa.

In any other country that takes its soccer affairs seriously, Santana would have been forced to catch the next flight back to Sao Paulo after the game at the end of the Afcon qualifiers.

Bafana Bafana are two months away from their first Confederations Cup game against Iraq at Ellis Park Stadium on June 14, but Santana is still trying out combinations.

Santana inherited more or less the same team from compatriot Carlos Alberto Parreira, the man who messed us up by recommending the new coach to break his international coaching virginity at the expense of Bafana Bafana.

Right now South Africans should be having a clear picture of who will feature in the Bafana Bafana starting line-up on June 14. Santana has been calling up players such as Katlego Mashego, Morgan Gould and Rowen Fernandez without giving them a run.

Remember when Clive Barker was still the Bafana Bafana coach? Any South African could give you the starting 11 if you were to wake them up just after midnight. Now we can't even tell you the first six of Santana's team.

Jerome Valcke, Fifa's general secretary, also made it clear this week that Bafana Bafana were not yet ready to compete against the world soccer powerhouses, saying they were concerned that Santana's team would be a laughing stock at the Confederations Cup.

After the 2-0 defeat by Portugal, Santana surprised even the international media by saying he was "happy" with the performance of his team.

When Parreira resigned, we were informed that he would be available to assist as a technical advisor. Maybe the saying that when days are dark friends are few explains Parreira or Safa's silence on the issue.

Four or five victories over third-string African opposition teams had misled South Africans into believing that Santana's Bafana Bafana had turned the corner.

If the truth be told, Santana has pushed the national team into the abyss and should be relieved of his duties before it is too late. - Sowetan reporters

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