By Shemmy Sholabomi (who was in Cape Town)
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi could be the next coach of Bafana Bafana, with the South African Football Association keen to hire a manager to improve the dwindling fortunes of its national team, Goal has learnt.
Disappointed by the early exit of Bafana at the African Nations Championship (CHAN), SAFA is keen to find a replacement for present coach Gordon Igesund and are looking for a credible and experienced trainer who can turn things around from the grassroots like what Keshi has done with players from the Nigerian league.
“We are not happy at all with the performance of our team in a competition that we are hosting. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t even qualify from the group stage,” a close source to SAFA told Goal during the CHAN competition.
“Yes Igesund is a good coach and has tried his best since he was appointed but I think it’s time we bring in somebody from outside to handle our national team like it is done in other countries.”
While there have been rumours about the potential return to South Africa of former coach Carlos Quieroz who is presently in charge of Iran, the Nigerian is also one of the top names being listed for a look in.
“I think there are some coaches SAFA has in mind to contact but honestly speaking it will be nice if Stephen Keshi can handle our team,” the source continued.
“I believe he will achieve with the team, his track records have proved this. You know he qualified Togo to the World Cup although some problems he had with the Football Association there cost him leading the team to the World Cup. Now he has done it again with the Nigerian team.
"So we believe Keshi can do a good job with this team if he agrees. We know he cannot leave his job now but we are targeting talking to him after the World Cup in Brazil,” the source said.
Keshi’s contract with the Nigeria Football Federation which runs until November 2015 has been slated for extension but the trainer could be tempted by a quest for new horizons and greener pastures after being owed salaries for more than six months in 2013.
His immediate task is to impress with the Super Eagles at the World Cup in Brazil.