JOHANNESBURG (AP) -South Africa parted ways with coach Pitso Mosimane after the Bafana Bafana stretched its winless run to nine games with a disappointing home draw with Ethiopia to start World Cup qualifying over the weekend.
The South African Football Association said on Tuesday it had parted with Mosimane "amicably" following an emergency meeting on Monday, but the 47-year-old coach was effectively fired after he lost the faith of the country's football fans and then his employers.
Mosimane, who was assistant to Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira when South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010, made a promising start to his tenure but never recovered from the embarrassment of not knowing the rules in African Cup qualifying last year. He watched his team celebrate a 0-0 draw at home against Sierra Leone when it actually needed to win to qualify for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Since then, the team has drawn six out of seven games and lost to Zimbabwe to see the momentum and optimism built by a promising performance at the 2010 World Cup on home soil seep away.
On Sunday, striker Katlego Mphela scored late to save Bafana against lowly Ethiopia in front of just 5,000 fans at the 30,000-plus capacity Royal Bafokeng World Cup stadium.
Afterward, Mosimane said South Africa needed to "accept the reality" that its football had not progressed sufficiently despite having access to better resources than most African countries.
SAFA evaluated the team's results after the 1-1 draw against the Ethiopians and said Mosimane's exit came when "both parties agreed to part ways amicably in the best interests of both the country and the national team."
SAFA appointed Mosimane's assistant and former international defender Steve Komphela as caretaker coach ahead of this weekend's World Cup qualifier away in Botswana, with Bafana already trailing in its group. South Africa also hosts next year's African Cup of Nations having failed to qualify for the past two tournaments.
"We appeal to the nation to also support the caretaker coach, the technical team, the players and the whole team going forward," SAFA chief executive Robin Petersen said. "We have entered into a crucial period of World Cup qualification and we will need all hands on deck to ensure this country gets to Brazil in 2014, as well as perform admirably at the 2013 AFCON (African Cup of Nations) tournament."
South African-based Premier Soccer League coach Gordon Igesund, who has won the national league title with four different clubs, emerged as early favorite to become Mosimane's permanent replacement, but Petersen told local media no decision had been made.
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