reprieve for now

OUT OF FAVOUR: Bafana coach Joel Saantana arrives at OR Tambo International Airport yestrday after friendlies in Europe. Pic. Tshepo Kekana. 15/10/2009. © Sowetan.
OUT OF FAVOUR: Bafana coach Joel Saantana arrives at OR Tambo International Airport yestrday after friendlies in Europe. Pic. Tshepo Kekana. 15/10/2009. © Sowetan.

UNDER-SEIGE Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana has received a temporary reprieve from being fired for under-performing because Safa leaders are in Egypt.

UNDER-SEIGE Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana has received a temporary reprieve from being fired for under-performing because Safa leaders are in Egypt.

In addition, the death of five amateur players from Burgersdorp Shining Stars in Limpopo has also contributed to the delay.

Safa bosses want to attend the mass funeral tomorrow.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and one of his three deputies, Mandla Mazibuko, are meeting the Confederation of African Football (CAF) chiefs in Cairo.

Safa's management committee was expected to meet today to dismiss Santana for failing to deliver on his promise of turning Bafana into a world-class team in time for the 2010 World Cup.

Nematandani, Mazibuko and two other Safa deputy presidents, Irvin Khoza and Mwelo Nonkonyana, make up the committee.

Danny Jordaan and Raymond Hack, the chief executive officers of the Local Organising Committee and Safa respectively, also serve on the committee.

Alpha Mchunu, Safa's national executive committee member, is also a member of that committee, which is responsible for emergency matters pertaining to the federation.

Nonkonyana, who earlier on this week said the management committee would meet today to discuss Santana's future, said: "That meeting will now take place next week.

"The problem is that some of our colleagues, including the president, are in Egypt to meet CAF president Issa Hayatou to introduce the new Safa leadership.

"We (Safa top brass) will have a tele-conference to map the way forward after the defeats. We are also waiting for reports on the two games against Norway and Iceland.

"The three assessors (Jomo Sono, Gavin Hunt and Clive Barker) will also submit theirs on the game against Iceland. We will meet sometime next week to decide on the matter."

Yesterday, a defiant Santana told journalists he was not hired to win friendlies, adding that he will continue ignoring calls to resign.

Fifa, who are on record as saying they are worried about Bafana Bafana's poor performance in the build-up to the World Cup, have refused to comment on the Santana matter.

Delia Fischer, Fifa South Africa media relations manager, said: "That is a matter of the federation. We are not involved as Fifa and have no comment to make."

Safa bosses on Tuesday rubbished the Sowetan story that they were talking to Carlos Alberto Parreira to return to coach Bafana.

However, Sowetan can reveal that a senior Safa official, whose name is known to us, spoke to Parreira late on Monday regarding his return.

Parreira has told Safa that he will only return to Bafana on condition that the position of head coach is vacant.

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