S. Africa targets Stars’ Coach?

Avram Grant may be called in at Chelsea to assist Rafael Benítez in a consultative roleGHANA’s highly-respected coach Avram Grant could soon be leaving the Black Stars as South Africa are keen on signing him as the technical director of their national team, Bafana Bafana.

According to a report in South Africa’s biggest newspaper, the Sowetan on Tuesday, the Israeli is among names being discussed as to take over the vacant position to help coach Shakes Mashaba in his future plans.

The high-profile names being bandied about are Avram Grant of Ghana, Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter, Herve Renard of Ivory Coast and Steve Komphela, the Maritzburg United mentor.

It is not clear if the Ghana coach has been approached, but his exit will be a massive blow to the Black Stars who have raised their game since the former Chelsea manager joined the team in December.

Insiders have told GHANAsoccernet.com that Grant remains the favourite because he has a good relationship with Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba after staying in the same hotel at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea last month, where they struck the friendship.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has committed to appointing a technical director by July 1 with Ghana coach Grant very much among the targeted candidates.

SAFA’s technical committee, led by Natasha Tsichlas, met on Saturday in the hope of identifying and perhaps even short listing potential candidates for the vacant position.

SAFA chief executive Dennis Mumble has confirmed that they are seeking a technical director with his only concern being the affordability of paying for such high-profile technical director.

“The appointment of a technical director remains top of our agenda. [But] we do not want to make errors in giving the job to someone who is not well suited for the job and realise in the middle of a five-year contract that we’ve made a mistake,” Munble said.

“We are also aware that finding the perfect candidate would mean we have to pay quite a bit, which then brings up the question around affordability.”

It has become evident that the association will be forced to head-hunt a technical director.

“Getting someone in by July means we will be able to include their remuneration package in our budget because our financial year-end is in June,” Mumble said.

The revelation that SAFA are seeking Avram Grant will send the Ghana Football Association (GFA) scratching its head over keeping its impressive head coach who led the Black Stars to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations last month.

The former Chelsea manager’s showing was so impressive because he took over the then struggling side just six weeks before the competition, yet he managed to rejig the squad to steer them to the final where they only lost on penalties.

With South Africa’s financial muscle and the reported meagre salary with Ghana, a small push could help SAFA to capture Grant from Ghana.

Grant has vowed to see out his two-year contract with Ghana after being recently linked with English Premier League side West Ham.

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