SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani has swiftly moved to dampen speculation on Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund’s future, saying the coach had a contract that runs until next year.
The SAFA president has, in the past, told the media about his admiration for Igesund and again reiterated the same sentiments when the team arrived home on Monday from World Cup qualifying assignments, where they beat Central African Republic (CAR) and lost to Ethiopia.
The 2-1 defeat to Ethiopia had provisionally knocked Bafana out of contention for a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil - though Ethiopia could still suffer a three-point punishment which would put Bafana back in the frame.
That defeat led to speculation that Igesund’s contract would be reviewed and that he would meet his employers soon to discuss the way forward.
However, Nematandani, who was with the team on the two assignments, said the Association would not meet Igesund with regards to his contract because that item "is not on the agenda".
“We are aware of the media reports doing rounds about Gordon’s future,” said Nematandani. “One thing must be made clear here, the coach’s future is not under discussion. He (Igesund) is the Bafana Bafana coach and we have a contract with Gordon until next year and I don’t know where the media is picking up the story that we would meet the coach to talk about his contract. There is nothing like that.”
Bafana Bafana trail Ethiopia by five points in Group A of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers with one match to go (against Botswana).
The SAFA president said it was important to stay focused on the challenges at hand, which included the outstanding World Cup match against Botswana.
“We still have that (Botswana) match to play and also the Cosafa Cup next month. Once we are done with that we have to start looking at the CHAN as well as the qualification for the 2015 Afcon,” Nematandani said.
The SAFA president said he was very impressed with the fighting spirit and commitment shown by the players despite some travel problems in Cameroon.
“We have to commend Bafana Bafana for their fighting spirit against CAR and Ethiopia. If anything, our players can never be accused of not trying especially against Ethiopia. They went down fighting and were just unfortunate on the day. We have to give credit to Gordon and his technical team for instilling that kind of fighting spirit,” said Nematandani.
Meanwhile, the SAFA president said he was aware of reports that Ethiopia is facing Fifa sanctions after fielding a suspended player in their qualifier against Botswana. “In all fairness, this has nothing to do with us,” he said. “It is a matter between Botswana and Ethiopia, but we will wait and see.”