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The Rise And Rise Of Queiroz 24/06/03
There will be more egg on the collective face of the SAFA hierarchy this week with the news that Carlos Queiroz has emerged as the leading contender for the vacant managerial job at Real Madrid.

By Lashias Ncube

Many will remember how the Mozambican-born Portuguese national was unceremoniously forced to relinquish his post as Bafana Bafana coach.

The naïve will say he resigned. The more discerning know that it was constructive dismissal.

Safa made Queirozs position untenable with a litany of changes designed to humiliate him, whittle his influence on the squad, and reduce him to a ceremonial figurehead.

The self-respecting football brain that Queiroz is would not stand for the shabby treatment meted out to him. He was not going to allow himself to be reduced to a trainer with no say in team selection.

Jomo Sono, the SAFA sidekick roped into the Bafana set-up, had usurped Queirozs core responsibilities, and claimed team selection was now his prerogative.

Queiroz realising the writing was on the wall, was not going to allow himself to be humiliated any further, so he granted the cowardly SAFA their wish by resigning. And the rest is, as they say, history.
The crassness with which the countrys football governing body acted would benefit Manchester United. Once the former Portuguese Under-20 coach became available, the English Premiership champions swooped.

Queiroz made an immediate impact at United, helping the Old Trafford aristocrats wrestle the title away from Arsenal.

Man United's defence, notorious for shipping goals, and the club's Achilles heel during the previous barren season, was the meanest in the Premiership last season, thanks to Queirozs influence.

Roy Keane, the hard-to-please Red Devils skipper acknowledged the role the Portuguese had played as United hauled themselves back into title reckoning after a wretched start to their campaign.

Carlos came at a good time for us, said the Irishman. He had some time to settle in and for us to get used to his ideas and for him to get to know us.

I think he deserves a lot of credit for the improvement of the team, especially for the defensive tightness we had.

But it was Ferguson who gave the Safa bosses a poignant reminder of what they had ineptly let slip through their fingers when he reiterated Queiroz qualities in his gushing praise of the man.

I think it was one of my best-ever decisions, bringing him to the club. He's been absolutely outstanding, the Scot said about his assistant on the clubs official website.

He's been a real revelation and it's been an eye-opener in terms of some of his preparation. He's so professional, so determined, he has great initiative about him.

But little did Ferguson realise that unwittingly, he was giving the Portuguese a glowing recommendation, and that European rivals had come to covet the benefit of the professionalism that Queiroz affords him at Old Trafford. 

And now, Real Madrid, the worlds most glamourous club, with the biggest concentration of individual talent, are mulling over a swoop for the Bafana discard, whose stock continues to rise. They want him to preside over a squad of the games most high profile players - the ultimate affirmation of Querozs worth.

Such is the ambition of Real Madrid that a day after guiding the club to its 29th title, they fired Vicente Del Bosque. Suddenly the man who also guided them to two Champions League triumphs during his three and half-year tenure is no longer regarded the right face at the club. And the man the powers that be deemed unfit to coach the South African national team is touted as the one to take Real Madrid to a new era.

Real president Florentino Perez said of Queiroz at a press conference: He is one of the people we are interested in. His profile fits exactly with what we are looking for.

Queiroz does not even have to get the Real job. The mere fact that he is being considered for the Bernabeu hot seat, this as a replacement for a man who acquitted himself admirably for the Spanish giants, speaks volumes about a man many pundits believe is the ultimate personification of professionalism.

The recognition of Quierozs worth by the two biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid and Manchester United, is a damning indictment of the incompetence of all the charlatans that are SAFA bosses and cause for some serious soul-searching, if you ask me.

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