Let Joe Public decide
The clock is ticking down and it’s now a matter of hours before the Uefa Euro 2012™ kicks off.
There’s plenty in store for the football fanatic or the self-appointed couch potato on the World of Champions, starting with live streaming at SuperSport.com, football in HD on SuperSport HD and, for those yet to upgrade, SS3 will bring all the drama.
As I was mulling over which topic to tackle relating to the Euro 2012 – the testicle-biting dogs that will be unleashed on hooligans, the “diplomatic sanctions” on the Euro, racism in football or the teams and players to look out for – I decided to rather focus on Mzansi.
There has never been such an opportune time for the SA Football Association (Safa) to win back public confidence as the present moment.
Not because they finally heeded the calls to drag Pitso Mosimane away – kicking and screaming – from the weighty responsibility of guiding the national team but the choice on who gets the job will have far reaching consequences.
Since the removal of Jingles, vuvuzelas have been blowing louder and louder each day for the enthronement of Moroka Swallows coach Gordon Igesund. The announcement by Safa just a few hours ago that they have shortlisted five locals for the job has done little to dampen down the calls for Igesund to assume the hot seat.
So, what opportunity is there for Safa to win over the public in this matter? They could easily go through the motions next week and put the five candidates through a painful interview and presentation session before announcing Igesund as the new man in charge. Or, they could throw the matter out in the open and let the 46 million or so football-loving fans decide who gets the job.
At the present, time is of the essence and the association will have to act swiftly. The first thing they can do is ask the public to trim down the shortlist to three through a public vote (radio, TV, social media and other easily available means). This voting process could start on Sunday and end on Tuesday.
Then on Wednesday and Thursday they could invite the three surviving candidates to a public interview session (use Orlando Stadium or even Soccer City). The three should also have 10 to 20-minute presentations on how they will turn Bafana Bafana’s fortunes around.
Once this process is complete, the three should be put through a practical national team coaching session. There are a number of international friendly matches (Gabon on June 15, Poland on date to be confirmed and Zambia) in the pipeline already. Otherwise they could arrange practice matches with Zambia, Mozambique or Angola.
The public will then decide who gets to coach in the first match through a public voting process. The coach will select his own squad, so there will be no excuses here. Just for the fun of it, the three can decide which of the eliminated two they would want to bring back as assistant.
Once all three have had the opportunity to coach “Bafana Bafana” they will then have to face the public again, perhaps to explain their experience while on the hot seat and why they took certain decisions.
Victory should not be the only deciding factor but evidence of a link between the theories that were presented during the interview process should be clear for the public to see during the three practice matches.
Since there will be money raised through the telephone and SMS voting process, that stash should be awarded to a charity or grassroots football development academy that has the potential to produce world-class players.
If this doesn’t work, they (Safa) can always appoint Igesund based on popular demand and should he not live up to expectations, they will know which way to pass the buck.
As you enjoy the Euro 2012, spare a thought for Safa and perhaps yours could be the idea that returns Bafana Bafana to football maturity.