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Igesund becomes Bafana coach at last!

[Posted 30 Jun 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Igesund becomes Bafana coach at last!
After so many years of trying unsuccessfully to become South Africa's Bafana Bafana coach, Gordon Igesund has finally passed the test, after the South African FA announced that the Moroka Swallows coach was preferred over Steve Khompela.

The announcement was made at SAFA House by the association's President Kirsten Nematandani following a meeting of the NEC who gave each of the remaining  candidates a chance to make final presentations to the NEC.

Only two candidates had remained in contention for one of Africa's most  difficult coaching jobs, after the list was whittled down from an initial five candidates, all local coaches from the ABSA premiership, who were vying to succeed sacked Pitso Mosimane.

"The two coaches each made a presentation to the NEC which also
received a report from the Safa Technical Committee. It is from this
process that the decision was arrived at," Safa President Kirsten
Nematandani said.

"It was not an easy decision as both coaches are well equipped to take
Bafana Bafana forward. At the end of the day, it was a unanimous
decision and we think the final verdict was in the best interest of the

It is not clear what Khompela's role will be since he was the interim coach,having been invited to join the technical department some time this year to assist the struggling Pitso.

Probably the best course of action would be to give Igesund the chance to appoint people he is comfortable to work with.

Given the fact that Steve and Gordon were the final two candidates and appear to have different coaching philosophies, forcing Steve 'down Gordon's throat' can only backfire as it can result in two centres of power in the team, defeating the entire purpose of changing the Bafana coach.

Safa appears to understand the need to follow the procedure practised the world over, of  giving the coach some kind of freedom to choose his own supporting technical team.

"We normally allow the coach to make suggestions, but of course the
technical committee will be working very, very closely to decide who it
is he will be working with," the Safa president added.

Igesund has been given a two-year  performance-based contract, and he is due to start his official duties on 1 July, with Brazil being his first assignment, away from home, on 7 September. Sounds like an unfair task on debut. But that is football. The new coach has to hit the ground running.

Igesund's major goals within the two years are very obvious: to take Bafana to the semi-finals at the 2013 AFCON finals to be played on home soil, plus the not so challenging task of qualifying for the 2014  World Cup.

"The bigger picture is the 2013 Afcon tournament and qualifying us for Brazil 2014 World Cup," Nematandani confirms.

Igesund is one of South Africa's most successful coaches, having won league titles in his homeland with four different teams. He won titles with minnows like Manning  Rangers and Santos, in addition to the titles won later with Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, perennial power houses of local football.

Igesund then worked wonders last season, managing to help Moroka Swallows survive relegation in spectacular fashion, before guiding the Dube Birds  a season later to within two points of the title, agonisingly losing the title on the final day to Pirates.

Coaches do not come better than that in South Africa. Yet, Igesund should be the first one to admit that national team coaching is a different ball game together.

There is hope and general goodwill that Igesund will succeed, using his quick-fix strategy that seems to work wonders at club level. Whether such a strategy will work with players who he only gets to work with for less than two weeks of a camp each time there is a match, remains to be seen.

Beezsports wishes Igesund success in his new-exciting but challenging toleof guiding Bafana Bafana back to glory days.

With the financial muscle that SAFA possesses after reaping huge profits from hosting the 2010 World Cup plus excellent facilities, Bafana Bafana should add to the AFCON title they last won in 1996.

Even though there could be very limited time to completely turn around the fortunes of the national team to expect to lift the title again on home soil as the class of 1996 did, there is pressure on Gordon to at least reach the final. And he knows it very well!   


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