Tuesday, 5 February 2013

KIRSTEN BOSH: Gordon Igesund to stay in charge of Bafana Bafana until 2018

Good Gord: Igesund and I before AFCON
GORDON IGESUND will sign a FIVE-YEAR contract with Bafana Bafana which will see the Silver Fox guide South Africa BEYOND the World Cup in Brazil next year to 2018.

Igesund will enter negotiations over a new contract on Monday, saying: “I want to see the job through. I’ve always said that.”

Though both big-spending Bidvest Wits and former club Moroka Swallows were lurking in the shadows hoping Igesund would leave the national job after AFCON, Igesund now seems sure to stay in place until the World Cup in Russia in five years’ time.

Despite failing to achieve his mandate of reaching the last four of the African Cup of Nations on home soil, the South African Football Association have come out in support of the man appointed in June last year.

Bafana went out to Mali, Africa’s third-best side, on penalties in the quarter-finals of AFCON 2013 on Saturday, having out-played their highly-ranked opponents for 120 minutes in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

Last night on SportsTalk, the show I produce for Udo Carelse on Talk Radio 702, SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani said: “We would have loved to get to the final, but considering the fact we started with a relatively very, very young team and a coach who came in five months ago, we have been somewhere.

“Look, I think every federation would aspire to have a coach that goes along the cycle of the World Cup. That is that aim of every footballing nation, that ultimately you qualify for the World Cup. 
Gordon came in just five months back, surely to me it would make a lot of logical sense to have a long-term place for a coach.

“To me, at this point in time, Gordon is a man who has done us very proud as we talk. We set a target but when you don’t reach it, it’s not the end of the world. You still have to review the issues that come up.

“The time factor comes in… and putting together a team in such a short space of time. The next target is the World Cup. We shouldn’t be rushing to begin to feel all is gone.

“We have committees to deal with the issue of Gordon’s future. Now, during March, we will be preparing the team for the World Cup qualifiers. We need a long term plan that will sustain this organisation.

"You have to aim high. If this level of performance is maintained  there is no reason why Gordon should not be our coach until 2018.”

Igesund, gradually coming back down to earth after guiding his team through a run of four games against higher-ranked side without defeat, said: “What we have done is bring back Bafana playing with pride.

“You can’t walk in to the side anymore just because your name is Joe Soap. These players have shown their pride and passion.  The players who weren’t here will have to fight their way in to this team.

“We have come a long way in a short time, but there is a long way to go.”

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