Stephen Keshi, the coach of the Nigerian Super Eagles national soccer team, said South Africa is among countries that have approached him about a coaching their national team after the World Cup in Brazil ends next month.
South Africa, whose national team known as Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the World Cup, is seeking a new leader after deciding not to renew the contract of current coach, Gordon Igesund, which expires next month. Despite having the biggest league by revenue in Africa, South Africa has only won the Africa Cup of Nations once and hasn’t regularly qualified for the World Cup. Bafana means the boys in Zulu.
“There’s been a lot of interest from other countries,” Keshi told reporters yesterday in Porto Alegre, Brazil. “South Africa is one of them.”
Keshi, known as Big Boss, captained the Nigerian national team for more than a decade and played club football in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Belgium and France. He was assistant national coach in 2002 when Nigeria qualified for the World Cup and later coached the Togolese national team and helped them qualify for the World Cup before being fired just before the tournament. He later managed the Mali’s team and took over as coach of the Super Eagles in 2012, leading them to victory in the Africa Cup of Nations, held in South Africa, last year.
The Super Eagles are second in Group F of the monthlong tournament that started on June 12 in Brazil. They play Argentina, which leads the group with six points, today in Porto Alegre. Nigeria has four points after winning against Bosnia and Herzegovina and drawing with Iran. Keshi didn’t say whether he is interested in the South African position.
The South African Football Association yesterday said in a statement no coach has been appointed and a decision will be made in July. Dominic Chimhavi, a spokesman for SAFA, declined to comment beyond the statement.
A number of coaches have expressed interest in the vacancy, according to a list e-mailed by Chimhavi.
Former France captain and Chelsea FC defender Marcel Desailly is on the list as is former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Avram Grant, who coached Chelsea.
Herve Renard, a French Coach who lead Zambia to the African Cup of Nations title, has put his name forward as has Roberto Carlos, who played for Brazil, Giovanni Trapattoni of Italy as well as Ruud Gullitt and Patrick Kluivert, both of the Netherlands.
The list is completed by Pim Verbeek, Ruud Krol and Dick Advocaat of the Netherlands, Ljubo Petrovic and Vladislav Heric of Serbia, Juan Ramon Lopez of Spain, Manuel Jose of Portugal and South Africa’s Shakes Mashaba.