Sat Oct 25 06:12:37 SAST 2014

Who's Über coach?

Feb 11, 2013 | RAMATSIYI MOHOLOA |

GORDON Igesund (7/10) has been given a lifeline by Safa despite having failed to deliver on his mandate to reach the 2013 Afcon semifinals.

AVERAGE PASS: Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani justified the decision to retain him by saying he was "the best in the country".

But it is clear that South Africans are getting used to celebrating mediocrity. Bafana surprised by reaching the quarterfinals, but that is not good enough for a hosting nation.

The last time we hosted the Nations Cup, Bafana were 17th in the world and number one in Africa.

And they did not even qualify for this tournament, but hosted it by default when war-torn Libya withdrew.

Now that the Afcon is over and Igesund has been given a pass mark, he must - as any teacher will say of a struggling pupil - try harder and do better, all the more so as the 2014 World Cup qualifying matches lie ahead.

The first thing Igesund must do is to get people such as Jomo Sono, Clive Barker and Shakes Mashaba - who were all dumped during the Afcon finals - to work with him as technical advisers.

In the build-up to the Afcon, South Africans were told Sono and company would work closely with Igesund, advising him on the opposition's strengths and weaknesses. One hopes that Igesund and the Safa bosses have learnt something from this one as they go into the remainder of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Igesund's report card

Tactics: Igesund gets six-and-a-half out of 10.

He opted for a rigid 4-4-2 formation before adding an extra midfielder against Mali in the quarterfinals.

Also, he used Lehlohonolo Majoro and Bernard Parker in the first game against Cape Verde (0-0), but Katlego Mphela and Tokelo Rantie were used in the next two (2-0 vs Angola and 2-2 vs Morocco).

Thulani Serero and Oupa Manyisa came off the bench and Thuso Phala, May Mahlangu and Parker played behind Rantie in the 4-2-3-1 against Mali.

This juggling of players might indicate indecision, but Igesund will now have an idea which formation suits Bafana best.

Motivation: Igesund will always get a nine here. For a coach who has won the Premier League with four different clubs, that is a given.

And last season he rescued Moroka Swallows from near oblivion.

Much of that had to do with his motivational skills.

Selection: The coach gets a seven here, but it's not all his own fault as Steven Pienaar declared himself unavailable and injuries deprived him of Siyabonga Nomvethe, Benni McCarthy, Ayanda Patosi, Morgan Gould, Mulomowandau Mathoho and Daylon Claasen.

Then for some odd reason he snubbed Andile Jali.

The combination of Bongani Khumalo and Siyabonga Sangweni at the back did not work.

Let's stop celebrating mediocrity.

Please!

Chumani Bambani rates the other coaches

LUCIO ANTUNES, Cape Verde(8/10 - exceptional)

Antunes' name will for a long time be synonymous with the turning of the tide for football in the island nation.

Antunes did exceptionally well to lead his side to the quarterfinals in their first appearance at the Afcon.

RACHID TAOUSSI, Morocco (6/10 - average)

Despite a first-round exit, Taoussi can be satisfied with his efforts, given that he only started work three months before the tournament.

Though lacking some of its stars, his young side showed promise.

GUSTAVO FERRIN, Angola (3/10 - fail)

Though Ferrin had also been with his team for a fairly short period - six months - the Uruguayan was one of the worst performing coaches at the tournament.

Blessed with a team that many thought would upset, he failed to motivate his charges, who were sorely lacking in enthusiasm.

KWESI APPIAH, Ghana (7/10 - pass)

Ghana might have had some assistance from referees in most of their matches, particularly with some of the questionable penalties they received, but Appiah has done a commendable job in getting a young Black Stars side to perform so well.

The team has a bright future with him at the helm.

PATRICE CARTERON, Mali (7/10 - pass)

Mali was one of the teams that very little was expected from, but Carteron and his charges had other ideas.

Together with captain Seydou Keita he lifted spirits in the camp and got the best out of the team despite the war plaguing Mali.

CLAUDE LE ROY, DRC (4/10 - below average)

With such a well-travelled mentor, particularly on the African continent, one would have expected a better showing by the Congolese.

With almost two years in his second stint as coach, the Frenchman could have done a better job.

GERNOT ROHR, Niger (4/10 - below average)

Rohr is yet to prove himself in the coaching ranks. Niger is one of the rising nations in African football and they were expected to do better.

Had the German-born mentor better motivated the side, this would have shown in their game.

PAUL PUT, Burkina Faso (9/10 - distinction)

With a match-fixing scandal - which resulted in a summary expulsion from any form of coaching - behind him, Put has quietly bounced back.

A man of few words, the work he put into the Stallions did the talking when they unexpectedly reached the final.

STEPHAN KESHI, Nigeria (9/10 - distinction)

Keshi came into the tournament under plenty of pressure back home.

His side's draw with Burkina Faso in their opening match did little to assist him, but he kept going.

Despite all the pressure and an alleged rift with captain Joseph Yobo, he managed to bring the side to the brink of a third title.

HERVE RENARD, Zambia (3/10 - fail)

Renard under-performed. He failed to establish Chipolopolo as one of the continent's powerhouses.

His side became the first defending champions in 21 years to be booted out of the competition in the very first round of the Afcon.

SEWNET BISHAW, Ethiopia (4/10 - below average)

It is difficult to tell whether this side is coming or going under Bishaw.

However, there were times when the team showned major signs of improvement. Moreover, Bishaw did manage to get them to the tournament for the first time since 1982.

SABRI LAMOUCHI, Ivory Coast (7/10 - pass)

The Ivorians played some of the best football in the tournament before their "untimely" exit in the quarterfinals.

The players respect and respond well to their young coach.

DIDIER SIX, Togo (2/10 - fail)

Six's personality could be his biggest downfall. There was too much conflict between the coach and the players, particularly senior stars such as captain Emmanuel Adebayor and goalkeeper Kossi Agassa.

With so much instability in the team, there was no chance that the Hawks would soar in the tournament.

VAHID HALILHODZIC, Algeria (6/10 - average)

The second-ranked team on the continent was the first to be knocked out - something that positions Halilhodzic as one of the worst performers in the tournament.

However, Algeria, like Morocco, are in a building phase and they produced some of the more entertaining football.

SAMI TRABELSI, Tunisia (6/10 - average)

The Tunisians played the best football of the North African teams and were probably one of the unluckiest sides not to go beyond the first round.

As a former Tunisian international, Trabelsi knows the culture of Tunisian football and so can be certain to steer his ship successfully.

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