Santos beat Black Leopards 4-1, boosting coach's chances

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- South African Premier league leaders Santos walloped Black Leopards 4-1 Saturday raising the aspirations of its coach, Gordon Igesund, to become national team trainer for the FIFA World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.
Igesund, who turned down an opportunity to coach Zambia's national team citing club commitments, said he would take the Bafana job if he were asked to.
Since Bafana's quarterfinal exit from the CAN 2002 after a 0-2 drubbing by host nation Mali, fans have been calling for the head of present coach, Carlos Queiroz.
Queiroz has refused to comment on his future, but has told reporters that Bafana played well but bad luck prevented them from going further.
"We need cool heads.
We must be rational.
We must take decisions that will be beneficial," said Queiroz whose future hangs in the balance.
Apparently the Bafana coach's contract with the South African Football Association (Safa) is performance-based.
Some Safa administrators have quietly pointed to the poor result in Mali as a possible breach of contract, which may justify Queiroz's dismissal.
Bafana were held to goalless draws by Burkina Faso and Ghana, before they beat a rather lethargic Morocco 3-1 to qualify for the quarterfinals.
As tales of racism and favouritism in the Bafana team surfaced, it became clear all was not well in the South African camp while in Mali.
The malaise was confirmed after Bafana were routed 0-2 by host nation Mali, ranked 25 places below the 1996 African champions.
Before the CAN 2002 tournament, Queiroz said he alone would be responsible for the team selection and "I will take responsibility for the way the team performs in Mali".
How those words have returned to haunt him.
Last season, Igesund won the local league title with Orlando Pirates, whom he left soon after the feat.
His team, Santos is on top of this season's Premier league with only 10 games to go.
The way his team demolished the northern province football powerhouse Saturday made clear his intentions to be noticed as possible replacement for Queiroz, in case Safa decides to drop the Mozambican-born coach.
In other league matches on Saturday, Pirates came from behind twice to manage a 2-2 draw against home side Bush Bucks at the Absa stadium in East London.
Kaizer Chiefs, who lost 1-2 in a mid-week tie to Leopards, defeated Free State Star s 1-0.
Meanwhile fans await the fate of Queiroz whose sombre ways have cast a shadow over the once glamorous Bafana team.
Safa will meet on Thursday to discuss the beleaguered coach's performance.
Queiroz's contract runs for another six months and a premature severance could cost the football association about R3 million.

10 february 2002 10:00:00

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