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FIRST ON EWN: Queiroz would be honoured at Bafana return

Queiroz, 63, is currently the head coach of Iran but tendered his resignation earlier this month.

Carlos Queiroz. Picture: AFP

In an exclusive interview with EWN Sport, former Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Queiroz says that he would be honored to have the opportunity to once again coach the national team.

Queiroz, 63, is currently the head coach of Iran but tendered his resignation earlier this month, fueling speculation that he could replace the recently dismissed Shakes Mashaba as South Africa’s head coach.

When contacted in Iran by EWN and asked whether he would be interested in the job, Queiroz said it’s a position he covets.

“Generally speaking, I was in South Africa and we qualified the team for the World Cup, Korea and Japan, but unfortunately with the incidents that happened around me, I wasn’t able to be on the bench coaching South Africa, which was really a great frustration and very sad for me that it didn’t happen.

“But if South Africa, or any other country, remembers your name and trusts your name as a person to coach the national team; for a coach it’s always an honor and something really very special. You are coaching the flag and the nation, and the expectations and the dreams of one entire country.

“At the moment, as you can understand, I have ethical duties and obligations with my present contract and I’m not in a position to make comments about that in a public way.”

He hopes to have clarity over his position in the coming days, but doesn’t expect his bosses at the Iran Football Federation (IFF) to accept the stringent set of demands he has made on them to continue in his position. This would then open him up to an approach from South African Football Association (Safa) officials looking at possible replacements for Mashaba.

“If that happens, and this is the first time that somebody really directly addresses the issue of Bafana Bafana [with me], nobody’s contacted me regarding that position. If I’m free and considered for the position of national team coach of South Africa, not only for me, there is not a single coach in the world that if a national team thinks that his name can drive the dreams and expectations of the country forward, that is always a great honour for a coach. There is no doubt about that.”

Queiroz led Portugal to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as well as spending two spells at Manchester United as assistant to Alex Ferguson, while also spending a season as Real Madrid boss in between.

Prior to those posts he was appointed Bafana Bafana’s head coach in 2000 and led successful qualifying campaigns for both the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2002 World Cup but left his position prior to the tournament in Korea and Japan.

“First of all, everybody knows that South Africa is like home for me. I was born a few kilometres from the border (in Mozambique). I’m an African person, a white African person. I have family, I have roots and I have so many links with Africa to consider that position. Apart from the football matters, it is something special for me.

“One of the things that was an important consideration for me to leave Manchester United and accept the job of national team coach of Portugal was the fact that the World Cup was in South Africa.

“Portugal was my country, to be the national coach of Portugal and to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa, Africa, my own home, that was one of the main reasons and [also] some family reasons around this.”

Mashaba was dismissed in late December following a disciplinary process that found him guilty of gross misconduct. This took place after he was seen to publicly rebuke his bosses following their World Cup qualifying victory over Senegal. His legal representative has confirmed that he will appear before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)

Mashaba was dismissed in late December following a disciplinary process that found him guilty of gross misconduct. This took place after he was seen to publicly rebuke his bosses following their World Cup qualifying victory over Senegal. His legal representative has confirmed to EWN Sport that he will appear before the CCMA on 7 February to contest his dismissal, while he added they have requested that SAFA put on hold their search for a new coach.

“We have asked them not to (look for a replacement), because we believe it would be fair to everyone not to have a final decision on anybody new when there is a hope of actually resolving the matter, whereby he continues in the job or where there is a hope that maybe a tribunal will let him be reinstated him into his job. So, we have asked that that reasonable approach be taken.”

SAFA technical committee member Anastasia Tsichlas told EWN Sport that President Danny Jordaan must return from Gambia (AFCON) before they can take the recruitment process forward.

“We (technical committee) having a meeting on Saturday but we also waiting for the President to come back, then we will have a meeting with the President. And from there we will do our proposals. We haven’t spoken about any names, because we know there are many coaches that are interested in the Bafana job.”

South Africa’s next competitive fixture is in late August, a World Cup 2018 qualifier against Cape Verde.

_To listen to the full interview with Carlos Queiroz, listen to the SoundCloud below. _

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