Larsen excited to reunite with mentor Igesund

2008-08-14 00:00

WHILE Maritzburg United have notched up the signings for a tough season back in the PSL, one of their best recruits could be a figure who will be largely in the background; assistant coach Clinton Larsen.

When new coach Gordon Igesund was casting the net out for an assistant, he did not have to think too long. One of Igesund’s most able lieutenants as a skilful right-sided playmaker in the title-winning Manning Rangers team of 1996/97, Larsen later joined the coach for a second title at Orlando Pirates in 2001.

“He’s got four and I’ve got two so he’s still leading,” Larsen joked yesterday.

Larsen has gained experience coaching in the first and second divisions for the past five years, with Durban Stars, Rangers and last season as an assistant to Mlungisi Ngubane at Nathi Lions.

He is excited about reuniting with Igesund in a coaching capacity.

“Of my 13 years as a professional, I served with Gordon for seven – six at Rangers and one at Pirates. We had a very good working relationship.

“As a coach, I have modelled myself on what I learned from him. I’m really looking forward to working with Gordon,” Larsen said.

The step up to the PSL is also a good opportunity in Larsen’s formative coaching career.

“I’ve finally got a break into the elite league. There are a lot of coaches my age breaking into the PSL and I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. It’s like serving an apprenticeship with ‘the company’.”

Larsen says the understanding he has with Igesund has helped him.

“At training there are times when Gordon’s about to say something and I’ll tell a player next to me that I know exactly what he’s going to say. I knew exactly what he wanted from me as a player, and that’s what I am trying to instil in the players now.”

While United have made some good signings, Larsen is aware that 2008/09 will be a tough season, with no obviously weak sides to compete against.

“What holds us in good stead is the experience we’ve brought in to add to last year’s squad that did so well. It will be a lot of hard work, but there are very positive signs for the future.”

The task has not been made easier by United’s late start thanks to the delay in last season’s NFD play-offs.

Larsen began his playing career with Crusaders United in 1991 and represented Rangers from 1992 to 1999 and Pirates from 1999 to 2001. He returned to Rangers in 2001 under Clive Barker to help save the team from relegation.

He played twice for Bafana Bafana, though a wealth of quality right-sided players at the time meant he was not called up again.

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