Igesund 'wasn't given ultimatum'

2009-01-15 00:00

CONTRARY to reports, Maritzburg United coach Gordon Igesund wasn’t given an ultimatum to keep his job, according to club chairman Farouk Kadodia.

The United chairman said yesterday that Igesund was told to “get points” from the team’s three games against Orlando Pirates in Johannesburg on Wednesday night (United lost 2-1), Ajax Cape Town tomorrow and SuperSport United (both at Woodburn Stadium) on Wednesday, and after that his situation will be reviewed.

Kadodia denies saying Igesund was told to get a certain amount of points, as reported in the Star, which stated that the coach was instructed to get six points or find his job in danger.

“No ultimatum was given directly to the coach,” Kadodia said yesterday. “I had a call from the Star asking where the downfall has come this season and asking how long we will persist with Gordon.

“I made it clear that at the moment we are giving all the support we can to the players and technical staff to try to ensure we don’t end up fighting relegation. I said in the next three games it’s up to the coach to get some points and then we will review the situation.

“And if the team doesn’t get any points then we will review our standpoint on the coach’s position.

“After the SuperSport game, it is important for us to take stock and see where we stand.”

United are currently in the midst of a nightmare schedule of matches that has seen them lose 2-1 — both times conceding a penalty and having a player sent off — to Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates away on their return from the Christmas break. Next they play league leaders Ajax, SuperSport and then Kaizer Chiefs away next weekend.

This has not made an already difficult situation any easier for a team that has won one game in 11 and lost eight. To say the appointment of four-time league-winning coach Igesund at the beginning of the season has not worked out the way it was supposed to would be an understatement.

Currently United are in second-last place, and the team has been in freefall since going four games unbeaten at the start of the season to have the worst PSL goal difference of minus-15. And the club’s owners aren’t buying Igesund’s explanation that his squad is not quite up to standard.

Igesund maintains that because of newly-promoted United’s late start to the pre-season due to a delay in last season’s First Division final caused by the FC AK bribery case, he was not able to put together a competitive enough squad, but managed the best he could. Yet Bay United, who have fewer resources than Maritzburg and made a lot less big-name signings, are currently two points above the PMB team, and Bay started their pre-season even later after winning promotion through the play-offs.

“I don’t agree that the squad is not strong enough. I believe we did the best job we could assembling the squad and on paper we should be a mid-table team,” Kadodia said.

Following their next three games, United will have some respite. They follow Chiefs away with last-placed Bloemfontein Celtic (home), Mamelodi Sundowns (away), AmaZulu (A), Lamontville Golden Arrows (A), Wits University (H), Bay United (A) and Santos (H).

However the manner in which the team has struggled to win games at home, and bled goals away from home, suggests United might need convincing performances in their next two fixtures for the owners to be 100% convinced of Igesund’s future at the club.

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