Igesund not surprised by SuperSport rejuvenation

By Drum Digital
27 November 2014

Gordon Igesund says his SuperSport United team have too many quality players not to challenge for trophies this season.

"When I made up my mind about SuperSport, I looked at the players they had there," Igesund said in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"SuperSport have a very decent team. I just thought if we changed things around, let the players play to their strengths and be more offensive, they would get the rewards."

Just nine games into his reign as United's manager, Igesund has already breathed new life into a team which was languishing at the bottom of the table after the first five games of the season.

Cavin Johnson made way for the former national coach, who has already guided SuperSport to seven victories from nine fixtures since taking charge in September.

A traditional 'top-four' team, SuperSport parted ways with Johnson and opted for the experience of a four-time Premiership winner, with the aim of getting the Pretoria team back into a position where they could push for league and cup honours.

On Saturday, Igesund has his first chance of getting his hands on silverware when his outfit take on defending champions Platinum Stars in the Telkom Knockout final in Soweto.

The former Manning Rangers manager steered Matsatsantsa to a hat-trick of wins in the Knockout competition -- beating Orlando Pirates, Wits and Free State Stars along the way -- and has now set his sights on a first trophy barely three months into the job.

"We changed the style and gave players the license to go forward. If you look at the players like Lebogang Manyama, Thuso Phala, Bradley Grobler and Dino Ndlovu, all of these players want to go forward and attack.

"Before, maybe they weren't doing it as much as they should have been.

"They are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. There's quality there and credit to them because it wasn't easy to adapt so quickly and respond the way they have."

With four defeats from their opening five games of the season under Johnson, few would have predicted United's resurgence.

Igesund, though, always knew he could get the team back on track.

"After the first two or three games, I wasn't surprised at all that the team responded and got a few wins because the guys just needed to get a bit of confidence.

"I'm more surprised at how quickly they've responded to what I've wanted from them. They're very professional and I'm very proud of them."

Meanwhile, having already relinquished their MTN8 title to Kaizer Chiefs earlier this season, Platinum Stars are determined to once again upset the odds against Saturday's favourites.

"When we started the competition we said that every round we play, we'd like to be in the draw for the next round. It will be good for us to defend the trophy," said Dikwena coach Allan Freese.

-SAPA

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