Desperate Igesund ready to gamble

2012-12-09 10:00

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Desperation has forced Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund to pin his hopes on players who have not seen much action this season as a result of injury.

Igesund is so desperate to get his star strikers in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) squad, he has asked them to prove their fitness.

He did not mince his words this week when he said he could do with the services of Benni McCarthy, Katlego Mphela and Thulani Serero, who have all been out nursing an assortment of injuries.

Igesund said even at 75% fit, he would still consider them.

Before taking his job, the coach said the country had talent in abundance.

But his remarks this week proved that he had run out of options, particularly in the striking department.

“It will be a tough call and sometimes in life you have to make unpopular decisions. Even if any of the players show me they are only 75% fit, I will take the gamble. If any of the injured players can play 70 minutes, it’s a risk worth taking,” said Igesund.

The former Moroka Swallows coach must have been smiling on Wednesday as McCarthy and “Killer” took to the field, with the former playing 74 minutes against Chippa United.

Mphela has made a timely return to the Sundowns team since the beginning of the season, when he came on with about 20 minutes remaining in their 1-1 draw against Free State Stars.

Tsepo Masilela is also back in action after he came out unscathed when he played a full game against Ajax Cape Town on Tuesday.

But Igesund will have to do without the services of Mamelodi Sundowns’ Punch Masenamela, who underwent knee surgery this week.

It will be touch and go for Daylon Claasen and Davide Somma, as Igesund will not want to have a field reflecting a casualty ward.

Igesund was optimistic about the team’s chances at Afcon.

Bafana have lined up three friendly matches before their opening Afcon fixture against Cape Verde on January 19.

Igesund’s team, comprising mostly local-based players, will take on Malawi on December 22 in Durban

before playing Norway in Cape Town on January 8.

Igesund will use the two matches to finalise his final 23-man squad, which he will announce after the game against Norway.

Bafana will then wrap up their preparations against Algeria on January 12 in Soweto.

City Press

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