11 May, 2008

Pressure builds on Joel Santana

By Kobus Pretorius (CPUT)

Joel Santana hasn’t even started his new job as head coach of Bafana Bafana but already high expectations are expected from him.

In an article that appeared in the Independent on Saturday’s May 10 issue, Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke said that Fifa expected the host nation of both the Confederations Cup in 2009 and the 2010 Soccer World Cup to reach the second round of both tournaments.

"We would like to see the host nation of major events such as the Confederations Cup and World Cup to get at least to the quarter-finals or semi-finals. That would help keep the interest going in the host country.

"It would not be good if Bafana were knocked out in the early rounds of either the Confederations Cup or World Cup. That is why we hope the new coach (Santana) will succeed with Bafana and make sure South Africa produce a competitive host team for the events."

Valcke also expressed the hope that Santana would continue the work Carlos Alberto Parreira, his predecessor, started in early 2007.

The draw for the Confederations Cup, which features eight leading countries, would be held in Johannesburg on November 22.

These comments by Valcke will add more pressure to a man already expected to turn a steadily descending Bafana around and making them competitive for the two looming tournaments.

We’ll have to wait and see if it is enough time for Santana to overturn Bafana’s fortunes and make them serious title contenders.

1 comment:

Future Journalists Programme said...

Nqobile- FJP

The success of Bafana Bafana relies so much on the coach as to the team itself and its officials. Much of Bafana's under-performance in the past years was blamed on the incapability of the coaches serving term at the time. However, i think attention must also be payed to the politics in South African soccer and the lack of discipline of some players who just wont follow protocol- especially those who play abroad and do not want to come back when needed.

If SAFA was to sort itself out, before the confederations cup, maybe we would see improvement on our team. Like Valcke, I hope the new coach will bring expertise that will better equip our team with skill to make it at least to the quarter finals. Then, on the other hand, maybe it's too great an expectation on Santana's part to overturn a failing team to superstars within a time frame less than a year.