Bafana Bafana set to be stranded for matches in Fifa window

Stuart Baxter (R) speaks with SA Football Association acting chief executive Russell Paul (L) shortly after announcing his resignations as Bafana Bafana coach in Johannesburg on August 2 2019.
Stuart Baxter (R) speaks with SA Football Association acting chief executive Russell Paul (L) shortly after announcing his resignations as Bafana Bafana coach in Johannesburg on August 2 2019.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

With just a fortnight to go before the next Fifa window for international competition‚ no games have yet been announced for Bafana Bafana never mind a new permanent coach.

SA Football Association (Safa) acting chief executive officer Russell Paul told TimesLIVE on Friday efforts were being made to find opponents for the national team‚ who have the opportunity to assemble all their players for 10 days and have at least two matches.

But with only a temporary coach – Molefi Ntseki – in place‚ television and sponsor deals up in the air and the association in dire financial straits it would seem pointless at this stage.

South Africa do not have a competitive game before the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers kick off in November when Bafana go away to Ghana and then host Sudan in the space of five days.

Molefi Ntseki replaced Stuart Baxter on an interim basis.
Molefi Ntseki replaced Stuart Baxter on an interim basis.
Image: Luke Walker/Gallo Images

It is not certain yet whether Bafana will start the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in the October international window but there is definitely no competitive outing for them in the September 2-11 window‚ offering the chance for meaningful preparatory matches.

Safa’s financial woes saw them unable to put together decent friendlies ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and any games they organise for next month would come at a major cost.

The budget for each international runs into the millions.

There is a heavy costs flying back players from clubs in Europe and elsewhere around the world‚ keeping them in a hotel for 10 days and paying everyone concerned‚ not to mention the organisation costs of hosting a match (security‚ ground hire‚ etcetera).

Then flying in opponents and paying them a match fee just adds to the red ink on Safa’s balance sheet.

With general disenchantment with Bafana side‚ Safa would look at a major loss at the gate too as the national team no longer attracts crowds to the stadiums.

Safa president Danny Jordaan faces increasing calls from former players and fans to step down.
Safa president Danny Jordaan faces increasing calls from former players and fans to step down.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

South Africa’s situation contrasts with that of other top African countries and goes some way to explaining why Bafana is slipping behind.

Morocco‚ for example‚ also lost their coach after the Africa Cup of Nations but moved quickly to replace Herve Renard.

On Thursday‚ Vahid Halilhodzic was named new coach with a monthly salary of 80‚000 euros (about R1‚3-million) and two friendly games in September were immediately announced to get him underway.

Nigeria‚ too‚ have fixed themselves a friendly against the Ukraine on Tuesday‚ September 10 but despite Danny Jordaan’s elevation to the vice presidency of the Confederation of African Football (Caf)‚ Safa do not seem to be able to pull the same strings.

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