- Associated Press - Thursday, July 15, 2010

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Pitso Mosimane was confirmed as South Africa’s new national team coach on Thursday following a complex process carried out by the South African Football Association.

SAFA president Kristen Nematandani finally announced Bafana Bafana’s assistant coach as the successor to Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira at a news conference, exactly two weeks after SAFA said Mosimane was the man it wanted but that he had to be approved by SAFA’s technical committee.

The 45-year-old Mr. Mosimane has been assistant since 2006 and was Parreira’s understudy during the World Cup. He is the 16th coach in 18 years since South Africa was readmitted into international football post-apartheid in 1992.

Mr. Mosimane said he would not make any dramatic changes, but added he would take “bold decisions” if he had to.

“I have arrived here not to turn things upside down,” Mr. Mosimane said, “but I will make changes if necessary, even if they are unpopular.”

He also thanked the experienced Mr. Parreira for “unconditionally” passing on his coaching knowledge.

Mr. Mosimane’s first game in charge will be a tough assignment against World Cup quarterfinalists Ghana at Johannesburg’s Soccer City — venue for the World Cup final — on Aug. 11.

South Africa begins its qualifying campaign for the 2012 African Cup of Nations with a home game against Niger at Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium in early September.

The country missed out on the 2010 Cup of Nations and under Parreira then became the first host to fail to qualify for the second round of the World Cup despite a 2-1 win over former world champion France in its final group game.

SAFA chief executive Leslie Sedibe said Mr. Mosimane had performance clauses in his contract that meant he was expected to lead Bafana Bafana to the next two Nations Cups and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Pitso understands fully the performance goals he has to meet,” Mr. Sedibe said. “We are impressed and confident that he can achieve them.”

Mr. Mosimane was already earmarked by SAFA to take the job after Mr. Parreira’s expected exit after the World Cup. But SAFA bosses said at a July 1 news conference they wanted a technical committee to assess Mosimane’s suitability and “make a recommendation.”

SAFA was then roundly criticized by local reporters for being overly bureaucratic.

Mr. Nematandani said on Wednesday that Mr. Mosimane, a former national team player and previous coach of local club SuperSport United, had now been recommended by the committee and contract details had been agreed. The parties just needed to sign the contract.

While Mr. Mosimane will be expected to earn South Africa qualification to major tournaments, SAFA is tasked with ensuring the World Cup leaves a positive impact after the national football federation received an estimated $130 million from the country’s hosting of the tournament.