New Bafana coach to be unveiled on Saturday: Queiroz‚ Renard and Broos are the last men standing
The new Bafana Bafana coach will be announced on Saturday and the South African Football Association (Safa) have begun talks with the three men who have made the final shortlist.
Safa have received more than 200 applications since ex-Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki was sacked last month and as things are at the moment‚ Mozambique-born Portuguese national Carlos Queiroz‚ well-travelled Frenchman Hervé Renard and Belgian Hugo Broos are the last men standing.
Frenchman Philippe Troussier‚ ex-Portugal international Abel Xavier and many others were on the list of applicants‚ but they will have to retreat, as the next Bafana coach will either be Queiroz‚ Renard or Broos.
Pitso Mosimane was a firm favourite among the members of the Safa technical committee in the early stages of the search for a new man but after the outspoken Al Ahly coach did not warm up to the idea‚ the net was cast wider.
TimesLIVE has been reliably informed that negotiations with the three men got under way in earnest on Monday morning. Queiroz is believed to be the strong favourite as, besides putting his hand up and telling Safa he is available to take over at a moment's notice‚ he has a firm understanding of Bafana and SA in general.
The Portuguese national is a regular visitor to South Africa as he has family based in Johannesburg.
He is said to consider SA as his second home and it is no secret that he has close friends at Safa House‚ including Safa president Danny Jordaan.
He is also a former Bafana coach - he was national team coach between 2000 and 2002 - and understands the tricky political dynamics that govern South African football very well.
Queiroz came very close to returning to Safa House and getting the job in March 2017 after Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba's sacking a few months earlier.
He had already agreed terms with Safa and was set to be announced as the new coach when his employers at the time‚ the Iran Football Association‚ pulled the rug from under his feet and triggered a €7m resignation clause in his contract.
His contract was to run until 2018 and the Iranians said if the folks at Safa were that desperate to get their hands on Queiroz‚ they would have to part with the money they were demanding. The job eventually went to Briton Stuart Baxter.
Renard’s achievements on the continent give him a crucial advantage over his rivals, as he holds the unique distinction of winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015.
He became the first coach to win two Africa Cup of Nations titles with different countries after leading the Ivorians to the winners' podium.
He is also a regular visitor to SA and has never hidden his desire to work in this part of the world at some stage in his career.
The Frenchman was a favourite among the media in March 2017 and Jordaan even met him in Zambia at the time.
It seemed a deal was a mere formality until he produced a list of demands that put Safa off.
He wanted to bring several associates along as part of his technical team and also demanded that his agent earned 20% of his salary‚ at Safa’s expense‚ for the duration of his five-year contract.
Broos also had discussions with Safa at the time but his own list of demands‚ including 20% of his salary he wanted his agent to be paid‚ put his prospective employers off.
The Bafana job became vacant after Ntseki was fired for failing to qualify the national side for next year's Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
This followed a 2-0 defeat to Sudan in Omdurman that saw Bafana fail to qualify when a draw would have seen the South Africans reach the tournament finals.
Insiders told TimesLIVE that Ntseki's failure to qualify will make it difficult for Safa to even consider a local coach and, while an attempt was made by the media and the public to garner support for the likes of Benni McCarthy‚ Eric Tinkler and others‚ none of them are in the reckoning.
It remains to be seen who will be unveiled on Saturday but the smart money is on Queiroz.