Vera Pauw’s future under scrutiny after Banyana crash out of Olympics

Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw. Picture credits: Getty Images
Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw. Picture credits: Getty Images

Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw’s future with the side is now the next item to be settled following the team's early exit from the Olympic Games this week.

The Dutch coach's South African Football Association (Safa) employers have to decide whether to offer her a new deal or not‚ and she in turn has to confirm whether she stay on in SA or leave.

Banyana failed to score at the Olympic Games women’s football tournament but did manage to hold the hosts to a 0-0 draw in their last match after narrow losses to Sweden and China in their other group games.

Safa communications boss Dominic Chimhavi told Times Media Digital on Wednesday that it would not be appropriate to comment on the Banyana coach's future while the Olympic Games are still underway.

"The Olympic Games are still underway and the team is still in Brazil‚" Chimhavi said.

"So we really cannot comment on that at the moment."

The Dutch coach has made a major impact on women’s football in South Africa and took the team to the Olympics but only after being afforded a second chance after flopping in the last African Women’s Championship‚ where Banyana blew a relatively easy chance to get to the 2015 Women’s World Cup finals in Canada.

The next Women’s World Cup is in France in 2019 and the African Women’s Championship in 2018 – which is still to be designated a host nation – will determine which three teams from this continent advance to the finals.

But before that‚ South Africa will strive for a first African title at the 2016 finals‚ which are being hosted in Cameroon from November 19 to December 3.

Banyana will be hoping that the experience they gained from playing in the Olympic Games will help them in their quest for a first African title later this year.

“Obviously we need to put a few friendlies together before we go to Cameroon but the planning of the coach for Banyana was up to the Olympics which is when her contract ends‚” explained Fran Hilton-Smith‚ technical director of women’s football at the South African Football Association as the women’s national team prepared to head home from Brazil.

The 2016 African Women’s Championship will be held in Yaounde in the new stadium in Limbe‚ where Hlompho Kekana scored his wonder goal in March‚ and besides the hosts‚ the other countries who have qualified are Egypt‚ Ghana‚ Kenya‚ Mali‚ Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

The draw for the groups at the finals is yet to be made but after their performance in the Olympic Games‚ South Africa can be expected to share top seed billing with defending champions Nigeria.

Nigeria have won nine of the previous 11 African Women’s Championships with Equatorial Guinea taking the other two.

But Equatorial Guinea will likely no longer be a force in the African game after FIFA brought to a halt their practice of using mercenary players from Brazil‚ Cameroon and Nigeria to fill the ranks of their national team.

They have now been banned for the next three editions of the African Women’s Championship.

South Africa have finished runner-up at four African Women’s Championship. - TMG Digital