Safa the last line for Santana

BAFANA Bafana coach Joel Santana is starting to feel the heat as South Africans vent their anger after a series of shoddy performances by the team.

BAFANA Bafana coach Joel Santana is starting to feel the heat as South Africans vent their anger after a series of shoddy performances by the team.

Sowetan has learnt that the Brazilian expects the Safa top brass to defend him. This was after Santana came under fire from local journalists, some of whom want to know when he is going to quit.

They said Santana had failed dismally after the team failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola in January.

It will be the first time since winning the event in 1996 that Bafana have not qualified for the continental showpiece. Our source told us Santana asked for an urgent meeting with Safa president Kirsten Nematandani to plead with them to protect him in future.

Last week's briefing was a Catch 22 situation for Nematandani, CEO Raymond Hack and deputy president Mwelo Nonkonyana, who did not want to be accused of responding to questions not directed at them. The Safa leaders have urged the coach and his technical staff to "redouble their efforts".

Santana, Hack and Nematandani could not be reached for comment, but Safa communications director Morio Sanyane said he was not aware of the coach's unhappiness after the briefing.

"It's news to me," he said.

At the weekend former Bafana manager Zola Dunywa urged Safa to fire Santana and replace him with assistant Pitso Mosimane.

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