Bwalya for Bafana Bafana job?

But Bwalya, whose name appears alongside 12 others released by Safa, has denied that he is in the running for the top job, claiming that he was only linked to the post in an advisory role. The legendary Bwalya, who is also the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) vice-president, said Safa has been consulting him on renowned names for the Bafana Bafana job. He said South Africa, instead, had given him a higher position of ambassador for the 2010 World Cup which the country will host. “South Africa has given me the job of ambassador which I think is higher than that of coach. If SA have to come up with a name it will probably not be an African coach. They have hinted they will go for England’s Sven-Goran Eriksson,” Kalusha said. Kalusha resigned from the position of Zambia national team coach this month citing personal differences with the powers-that-be in Zambian football. However, reports from South Africa insist that Kalusha is on the official short-list for the job. Safa has been desperate for a substantive mentor since stand-in coach Ted Dumitru was fired after Bafana Bafana’s poor show at the African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt early this year. The Sunday Times of South Africa claimed to have obtained the official short-list, which the paper said featured the name of Bwalya. Brazilians Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlos Alberto Parreira and outgoing England mentor Eriksson are the three superstar coaches on the official shopping list. Besides Bwalya, Scolari and Parreira, other names on the list are Guus Hiddink, Barcelona’s Frank Rijkaard, Patrice Nouveau, Jomo Sono, Pitso Mosimane, Gordon Igesund, Steve Khompela, Christopher Eguavoen and Stephen Keshi. The Brazilian pair of Scolari and Parreira are among the coaching elite, with World Cup winners’ medals among their more illustrious achievements. Eriksson enjoys a high profile due to his England coaching job (which expires after the June World Cup), and Hiddink and Rijkaard have sound reputations. Hiddink coaches PSV Eindhoven and Australia, with Rijkaard, a former Holland coach, in charge at Barcelona. The only one with heavyweight experience in Africa is Nouveau, who led Guinea during the African Cup of Nations in Egypt. Although domestic coaches Sono, Mosimane, Igesund and Komphela are on the list, their chances are slim given the resolve by Safa to engage a high-profile coach with extensive international experience. The technical committee, led by Sturu Pasiya, intends approaching the group of 13 in the next few weeks. The appointment will, however, only be confirmed after this year’s World Cup in Germany. The coach will have to sign a performance contract and his immediate mission will be to qualify for the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana. The qualifiers start next year. Meanwhile, Mosimane, the SuperSport United coach, will take over Bafana Bafana on a short-term deal during the Cosafa Castle Cup next month. A new structure to run Bafana Bafana as a commercial entity was approved by Safa’s technical committee at a meeting last week. The commercial entity, to be wholly owned by Safa, will ensure that Bafana Bafana, Banyana Banyana and the Under-23 side are run professionally while Safa concentrates on amateur soccer and development.

April 2006
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