Safa to name Thabo Senong's successor as new Amajita coach

16 July 2019 - 14:32 By Tiisetso Malepa
SA Football Association acting chief executive Russell Paul.
SA Football Association acting chief executive Russell Paul.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

The SA Football Association (Safa) will this week announce the new national men’s Under-20 coach to replace Thabo Senong‚ whose contract was not renewed after its expiry at the end of June.

Senong‚ who was first appointed on a four-year deal in December of 2014‚ guided Amajita‚ the men’s Under-20 national team‚ to an unprecedented two Fifa World Cups in succession.

However‚ Amajita bombed out in the group stages of both competitions without winning a game‚ most recently in the 2019 edition last month‚ leading to Safa discontinuing talks about extending his contract.

Acting Safa chief executive Russell Paul told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that a coach would be named in the next couple of days.

“You will know probably on Wednesday or Thursday‚” said Paul‚ adding that the appointment would either be on a caretaker basis or full time.

Football was conspicuous by its absence on the list of sporting codes that will represent South Africa at the 12th edition of the Africa Games to be hosted in the Moroccan cities of Rabat and Casablanca from August 19 to 31.

Banyana Banyana and the men’s under-23 football teams were not on the Team SA list released on Tuesday.

“Banyana and the Under-23 were never going to be at the All Africa Games because that tournament clashes with their qualifying journey for the 2020 Olympics‚” said Paul.

In total SA will compete in only 11 of the 26 codes that will be on offer in Morocco and Sascoc President Gideon Sam said funding cuts have resulted in a drastically downsized Team SA.

Inclusion was offered only to codes where Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020 was at stake.

The Under-23 team’s first phase of qualifying for Tokyo 2020 has already begun while Banyana will use next month’s Women’s Cosafa Cup on home soil to qualify for the Japan showpiece.

Since the Africa Games clash with both the Under-23 and Banyana’s qualifying campaigns‚ Paul said Safa is “finalising some finer details with the Confederation of African Football” in a bid to send both the men’s and women’s Under-20 teams instead to the Africa Games.

Although football was not part of the Team SA announced on Tuesday‚ Paul said both the men’s and women’s Under-20 teams could still get on the flight to Rabat.

“They can still go to the Africa Games‚" he said.

I will be able to confirm that in the next couple of days.”

Asked who would be on the bench to take charge of the Africa Games should the Under-20 men’s team book a place at the continental showpiece‚ Paul said: “The team will have to go there with a coach whether the coach will be permanent or otherwise.”

The Africa Games are an important event on the national team’s calendar as it comes a year before the Olympics.