Back to the drawing board for new Safa leadership

THE new Safa leadership has accepted blame for Bafana Bafana's defeats by Norway and Iceland, saying it's now back to the drawing board to develop a turnaround strategy for the team.

Addressing journalists yesterday on the team's return home, Safa deputy president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana described the defeats as a "shame to the nation".

Nonkonyana said Safa would meet next week to discuss the performance of the crawling Bafana Bafana after receiving reports from various people.

That meeting is expected to decide the future of coach Joel Santana, who is under pressure to resign due to the team's lengthy losing streak.

"We are waiting for reports from the three assessors (Jomo Sono, Clive Barker and Gavin Hunt), the coach and myself as head of delegation," Nonkonyana said.

"We'll meet sometime next week to discuss the report."

He said a decision would be taken after appearing before Parliament's portfolio committee on sport and recreation, led by Butana Komphela, on Tuesday.

"We'll obviously talk about Bafana Bafana and other football matters."

Alpha Mchunu, acting Safa president, said: "We need to go back to the drawing board. The performances against Norway and Iceland are best forgotten."

It is a known fact that Safa is talking to Carlos Alberto Parreira to rejoin Bafana Bafana as coach, but that will happen only after the dismissal of Santana.

Earlier this week Safa president Kirsten Nematandani, who is in Cairo on soccer business, said firing Santana would be premature.

He said the assessment of the team would "have a proper perspective" only after assessing the three matches against Iceland, Japan and Jamaica. On Bafana Bafana's arrival back home yesterday, a defiant Santana said he will still be the team's coach during the 2010 World Cup.

Only nine soccer lovers, led by Saddam Maake and Collin Nxumalo, turned up at the airport to welcome Bafana Bafana but made it clear they were gatvol with endless defeats.

Sowetan has it on good authority that Safa top brass will meet this weekend to come up with a date for a special general meeting in 15 days' time to amend the constitution.

That will also make it possible for them to increase the Safa deputy presidents from three to four.