13 August 2019, by: Antionette Muller
SOUTH AFRICA’S COACHING MERRY-GO-ROUND
Stuart Baxter became another South African statistic last week. He quit as Bafana Bafana coach, after an under-par performance at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. South Africa might have knocked Egypt out of their own tournament, but overall, the team’s performance was lukewarm.
Lack of goals, predictable tactics and a defeat against Nigeria which ended their tournament, underscored that the problem isn’t going to be fixed with one euphoric victory.
Baxter isn’t the first coach to quit – or be fired – under trying circumstances. Many consider the job to be a poisoned chalice. Even the most successful domestic coaches have failed to replicate the results.
With Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United, Baxter racked up the silverware. He guided Amakhosi to the South African Premiership title twice and won a further four Cups – two with Chiefs and two with United.
Before him, Gordon Igesund also struggled to convert. Pitso Mosimane, who has gone on to become one of the most successful South African coaches, also hit a wall. While Mosimane’s success came after his stint with Bafana Bafana, he’d taken the job having worked the youth systems.
It’s a mystery that has befuddled many pundits. Most agree that the system is broken. Some suggest that coaches need to be given more time. Time in charge, of course, does not guarantee success. But there is an interesting correlation worth noting.
Clive Barker, the only South African coach to guide the country to a major trophy, remains the country’s longest-serving coach.
Note: Data sourced from transfermarkt.co.uk. Where coaches have had more than one tenure, each period is counted individually. Caretaker stints are excluded. Days in charge taken on 5 August 2019.