Pitso Mosimane was named national coach of South Africa on Thursday in succession to Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreria.
The announcement at a national FA news conference in Johannesburg was widely expected, as 45-year-old Mosimane has been a Bafana Bafana (The Boys) assistant coach for four years. Hosts South Africa were eliminated in the first round of the just completed 2010 FIFA World Cup™ after drawing with Mexico, losing to Uruguay and defeating France.
Parreira, coach of the 1994 Brazil FIFA World Cup-winning team, indicated when he took control of South Africa a second time last November that he would step down after the finals. "I have taken this job not to turn things upside down but will make changes if necessary, even if they are unpopular," warned Mosimane. "I am ready to take Bafana Bafana to a higher level."
Mosimane faces a difficult immediate challenge with South Africa in the same 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group as defending champions Egypt, Sierra Leone and Niger. Egypt have won the last three Nations Cup tournaments and west African minnows Sierra Leone triumphed at home and drew away when they faced South Africa in qualifiers for the 2010 African showpiece.
Long-time underdogs Niger showed dramatic improvement this year with the national team qualifying for the local footballers-only African Nations Championship in Sudan next year at the expense of Nigeria.
SAFA CEO Leslie Sedibe said performance clauses set for the new coach in a four-year contract included qualifying for the 2012 and 2013 Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. "Pitso understands fully the performance goals he has to meet. We are impressed and confident he can achieve them," he said without explaining what would happen if a goal was not met.
Mosimane inherits from Parreira a team ranked joint 66 in the world beside Macedonia and 12th in Africa behind powerhouses like Egypt, 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. The former Bafana Bafana striker played professionally in Greece and sprang to coaching prominence at Pretoria club SuperSport United early this decade after succeeding ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar.
South Africa play a friendly against Ghana on 11 August in Johannesburg, open their Nations Cup campaign at home to Niger in Nelspruit the following month and travel to Sierra Leone during October.