Spotlight on African Coaches

By Editor | December 9th, 2011 5 Comments

Editor’s Note: This post begins a multi-part series on African coaches.

Continuing with Pitso is Regressing

Guest Post by Mohlomi Maubane

SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA — In a recent issue of Kick Off, South Africa’s leading soccer magazine, Editor Richard Maguire argued against firing Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane (in photo above). Pitso, of course, is singularly responsible for South Africa’s embarrassing failure to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup finals (aka The Comedy in Nelspruit). I have been collecting Kickoff since high school. As a magazine, it expects vision, competence and innovation from every member of the South African football fraternity; hence the editorial vouching for Pitso to stay on as Bafana Bafana coach was surprising.

The crux of Maguire’s argument is that Mosimane should remain in charge for the sake of continuity. I say there should not have even been a beginning. Mosimane’s coaching success has been overblown. At club level, he led well-endowed Supersport United to five cup finals, losing three, and at national team level he was an assistant coach during a mediocre run from 2006 to 2010, when Bafana sunk to 90th in the FIFA World Rankings.

The ridiculous manner in which South Africa failed to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup finals showed Mosimane to be as unprofessional as his employers. How can a national coach fail to read or grasp competition rules? This is a man who thinks of himself as a “modern” coach always in step with the latest developments in the world game. Perhaps common sense is not part of the curriculum of the courses Mosimane often brags of attending. And for all his supposed keeping abreast with the latest trends in the game, Mosimane’s idea of “global football” is confined to the English Premier League and La Liga.

SAFA appointed Pitso Mosimane as Bafana Bafana coach soon after the 2010 World Cup. At the time, there was talk of the dawn of a new era in South African football. In truth, there was the usual lack of specific detail on how to make this new epoch come about. Instead, SAFA officials spoke at length about Vision 2014, Bafana Bafana’s campaign to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. The seven other national teams under SAFA’s auspices were left unmentioned. Now, a year after the Vision 2014 was unveiled, we are a joke in the football world.

More than anyone else, it was Mosimane’s job to ensure Bafana qualified for 2012. He was entrusted with the troops and should have known the rules of engagement. When he was introduced as the new Bafana coach after the World Cup, Mosimane was his typical pompous self, saying he did not expect favors from anyone, he knew his mandate, and that he wanted to be judged by the results. Here are the Nations Cup results: 2 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss, 4 goals scored, 2 against. Having failed to qualify, his story has now changed. In his first press conference after the Comedy in Nelspruit, Mosimane had the audacity to say he did not fail because South Africa finished top of their group! That Bafana actually failed to qualify was in the past; it was time to move on, he said.

Indeed it is time to move on, and perhaps it is best to do so with a coach who reads and understands the rule book; one whose trophies and coaching acumen supersede his chest-thumping bravado. Pitso Mosimane has been in the national structures for more than five years and South African football would not be served well by a continuation of his underachievement.

If Mosimane were a football journalist and wanted to write for Kick Off, I suspect Maguire would send him away with the disdain he probably feels when the magazine has to document yet another SAFA cock-up.



December 12th, 2011 | 11:01 pm    

Interesting comments Mohlomi. There are too many problems in our game. Unfortunately, it seems we do not have the balls to address these issues. The problem is far bigger than Pitso. Sometimes people project themselves as some kind of Messia’s. This needs the participation of everyone. It is a pity that the majority of people think football in this country is bafana Bafana or Pirates and Chiefs.


December 12th, 2011 | 11:47 pm    

South African football has more issues and Pitso in this case is expected to perform miracles. The question every football-loving citizen of this country is whether we are doing enough to develop the game at grassroots. The game in Africa has grown over the past 10 years and our (SA) has not. Look at countries such as Botswana, Gabon, Niger etc.

These countries are doing a lot to develop their youngsters and these boys are identified at a very young age. As a result they are protected and developed in the right way.

Firing Pitso is not the solution but i believe that he (Pitso) has to come up with a development program for the country. He must come up with a plan that will help develop more players and send them to Europe to develop even further.

Johnny Swabile Mahala

December 14th, 2011 | 4:00 am    

Odd. On this page, Mohlomi Maubane isn’t credited, but on another page he is. Anyway, the point is well made Mr. Maubane. The trend to retain failures is either a case of gracious forgiveness or of a cloying nepotistic cameraderie that we see too often in African politics. Within FOOTBALL power structures it is always a game within a game. Here we have not just money at stake, but national reputations and footballer’s careers too.
Until we rid ourselves of petty dictators and return to the politics of selfLESSness, I am afraid it’ll be the same old story.

Any national team management structure needs an equally gifted and diverse team OFF the pitch. The backroom has to be full of well-paid, talented winners too. Nice piece m’fethu.


December 14th, 2011 | 11:07 am    

Johnny Swabile Mahala, I’m not sure what you mean by “Mohlomi Maubane isn’t credited” . . . his name is right at the top of the post (below the title). Please clarify. I liked the rest of your comments, as well as Thabo’s and Wanda’s about the deeper ills affecting football development in SA. Thanks.


December 15th, 2011 | 3:03 am    

@ Wanda and Thabo. I agree the problems of our soccer are bigger than Pitso. However, I don’t think I was addressing South African football as a whole, rather showing the limitations of a coach whose bark is worse than his bite. I also don’t think miracles are expected of him; just qualifying for tournaments is fine.

Sure, we have development issues in the country but I think we have a good enough a crop of players in the PSL to be a formidable side in the continent. Gordon Igesund won the inaugural PSL with a bunch of “no name” players at Manning Rangers. Pitso on the other hand…

Ja, ja I know football is a game of opinions, more so when it comes to selections but some selections bemuse me. We are too over-reliant on Katlego Mphela yet we have Terror Fanteni delivering consistently at Ajax. But then again, barely a year ago Thulani Serero and Andile Jali were deemed not good enough for the World Cup.

Yes, there are many problems in our football, one of which is a Mister Know it all coach who can’t qualify for AFCON.

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