South Africa fire coach Igesund

Johannesburg: South Africa coach Gordon Igesund was fired Monday for poor results during his two-year contract, the national football association announced in Johannesburg.

The 57-year-old failed to meet mandates to reach the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals and to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Portuguese Carlos Queiroz and Nigerian Stephen Keshi, who will coach Iran and Nigeria respectively at the World Cup, have been linked with the post.

Former Real Madrid manager and Manchester United assistant manager Queiroz had a heart-breaking previous spell in charge of South Africa.

He successfully guided the country through the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign only to be axed after a Cup of Nations quarter-finals loss a few months before the global showpiece.

A former coach of Mali and Togo, Keshi exceeded expectations last year when he steered Nigeria to the Cup of Nations title in South Africa.

"The process of finding a new coach will start after this press conference," said national football association president Danny Jordaan in Soweto.

Jordaan met Igesund and leading national association officials before taking the widely expected decision not to renew the contract of the Durban-born coach.

Igesund was a popular choice as a replacement for under-performing Pitso Mosimane in 2011 having guided a record four clubs to the national league title.

But he flopped when South Africa hosted the 2013 Cup of Nations, winning only one of four games and Bafana Bafana (The Boys) bowed to Mali in the quarter-finals.

And an away loss to African football lightweights Ethiopia meant South Africa did not even make the African play-offs for five World Cup slots.

As Igesund clung to his job under rising media and public criticism, he needed to perform well at the 2014 African Nations Championship for home-based footballers hosted by South Africa.

However, a win over Mozambique was followed by a draw against Mali and a thrashing from bogey team Nigeria, and the hosts were eliminated after the first round.

Brazil hammered the final nail into the coffin last March when they came to Soweto and outclassed Bafana 5-0 in a friendly with Neymar scoring a hat-trick.

Another friendly against top-class opposition provided the highlight of the two-year Igesund reign as South Africa shocked World Cup title-holders and European champions Spain 1-0 in Soweto last year.