Now that Stuart Baxter is gone‚ who should replace him as Bafana coach?

Stuart Baxter shakes hands with SA Football Association acting chief executive Russell Paul resigning as Bafana Bafana head coach during a press conference in Killarney, Johannesburg, on Friday August 2 2019.
Stuart Baxter shakes hands with SA Football Association acting chief executive Russell Paul resigning as Bafana Bafana head coach during a press conference in Killarney, Johannesburg, on Friday August 2 2019.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Friday‚ 2nd of August came with the hot news of Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter’s resignation‚ which posed the question of who will be next to be given the hot Bafana seat.

Here we present the three South African-born coaches we think the next Bafana boss will come from. Among those is the name of former SA distinguished international Benni McCarthy.

Despite his tender age of 41‚ the ex-Blackburn Rovers striker will be the odds-on favourite given what other young African-born coaches of Senegal (Aliou Cisse‚ 43) and Algeria (Djamel Belmadi‚ 43) achieved as finalists at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

TimesLIVE’s three choices are:

Benni McCarthy - current Cape Town City coach 

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy.
Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The good thing is McCarthy himself has been eyeing the Bafana job‚ even if it might only have come in his dreams that it might happen so early in his coaching career‚ now just a mere five years.

The Cape Town-born mentor has all the ingredients to inspire any young South African player having excelled at Bafana as the all-time leading scorer with 31 goals‚ and the only player to score a hat trick.

But what will encourage anyone who wants to hire McCarthy is the courage he has shown at Cape Town City as a young coach‚ winning one major SA cup (the MTN 8) last season‚ which was his second final in two seasons as a head coach.

City have finished inside the top five in the Absa Premiership twice under McCarthy (fifth and fourth)‚ a huge feat for a club that is also yet to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

If it took Belmadi just a year to win the Afcon with Algeria‚ why would Safa fear to give the job to McCarthy‚ who has shown from word go in the PSL that he’s an inspirational coach who every player dreams to play for?

McCarthy must be given this job and time to rebuild the team with young players. If he doesn’t qualify for the 2021 Afcon and 2022 World Cup it shouldn’t be a train smash if we know we are targeting the 2025 Afcon and 2026 World Cup with a mature team after wasting the last two years with Baxter.

Pitso Mosimane (55)‚ Mamelodi Sundowns

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

If McCarthy is handed the job to coach Bafana‚ Mosimane should be his great sounding board given what he has achieved on the African continent with Sundowns in the last few years.

If there’s any South African coach feared all over Africa‚ it is Mosimane‚ who has had a short stint as Bafana coach before. He may well be given the job again‚ but judging by what he’s said he wants to achieve more with Sundowns‚ he may well leave McCarthy to it for now.

For McCarthy‚ or whoever next is appointed to lead Bafana‚ the support from wise mentors of the counrty is what he will need. One of Baxter’s faults was to alienate himself from great minds like Mosimane and that grave mistake should never be allowed to happen.

Even Mosimane will be well-advised to listen McCarthy if he returns to Bafana because once you are in that job it is impossible to see and know every next move you need to take.

Gavin Hunt - Bidvest Wits coach 

Gavin Hunt looks on during the match away against Mamelodi Sundowns in Atteridgeville.
Gavin Hunt looks on during the match away against Mamelodi Sundowns in Atteridgeville.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Hunt must be growing tired of always being listed among the next Bafana coaches and then constantly being overlooked when the appointment is made. He’s proven to anyone that he’s a great coach‚ having‚ like Mosimane‚ won four league titles in the Absa Premiership.

What could be blocking Hunt’s chances of ascending to Bafana is his frank and somewhat robust and no-nonsense manner‚ which might somehow come to some people as intimidating.

He probably would be a great Bafana coach but the suits at Safa may be too soft to handle an SA boss who may challenge them if they don’t give him all the necessary tools and support to do the job. This is a trait they may well fear in McCarthy‚ too‚ who used to have a lot of fights with the association when he was a player.

Hunt (55) recently joked that he’s too young for the Bafana job. He’s probably wrong because Cisse and Belmadi have shown everyone on the continent that you don’t have to be over 60 to achieve something with a national team. In fact the younger‚ the better.

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