Ngwepe, Ndlovu round off Igesund’s squad

2008-08-20 00:00

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder or defender Elias Ngwepe and central midfielder Sam Ndlovu from SuperSport United are the last pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that is coach Gordon Igesund’s squad for the 2008/09 Premier Soccer League season.

Along with this week’s other additions — forward Tico-Tico Bucuane, winger Tony Tsabedze and striker Brice Aka — this brings Igesund’s squad to a manageable 24.

The coach says he is still looking at one last player, defender Siphiwe Mkhonza from SuperSport United.

Ngwepe is expected to play as an attacking left-back. Ndlovu becomes the second player signed from PSL champions SuperSport, along with Tsabedze.

“Ngwepe and Sam Ndlovu are my final signings, but I’m still happy to have a look at Mkhonza,” Igesund said yesterday.

“I’m quite steady at the back, but defenders do pick up suspensions and injuries, and I don’t want to be caught short. One extra defender might just be what we need.

“Mkhonza is an ex-Bafana Bafana player. He played for Kaizer Chiefs for many years and for SuperSport, but I know he didn’t play much last season, so I’m going to make a decision next week.

“In all the other positions I’ve reached my limit. I’ve got my squad of 24, so everything’s on track.”

Ngwepe, whom Igesund knows well from his time coaching Sundowns, can play at wing or left-back, which will be crucial given the release of last season’s left-sided players, Buti Sithole and Omar Hendricks.

“Gary Goldstone is also a left-back, and Ngwepe is also a player I can play in an attacking role,” Igesund said. “I can play with three at the back. We’re not going to play the same formation in every game, and I’ve got the players to play a 3-5-2, or for a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.”

Asked if he plans using Ngwepe in a more offensive or defensive role, Igesund said: “I’m looking for both my full-backs to be attacking players. The modern game is about attacking, not defending. I need the opposition to worry about my full-backs coming forward.”

Explaining yesterday’s sudden release of contracted Hendricks, Buti Sithole and winger Justice Sithole — all regulars in last season’s promotion-winning team — Igesund said the three just did not fall into his plans.

Five players remain from last season — Fadlu Davids, Collen Zimba, John Arwuah, Sylla Mbemba and Peter Petersen.

“The most difficult thing for any coach is to tell someone who’s actually not a bad player, ‘look, you don’t fit into my plans’,” Igesund said. “But I would rather be honest from the beginning. With the way I want to play, and the type of players I’ve got on my team, they just didn’t fit into my plans.”

United’s first fixture is away against Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday.

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