Igesund anticipates ‘new era’ for Bafana

2012-09-07 11:11

Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund put his neck on the block by promising that South Africans will go to sleep a happy nation tonight.

The reason?

“We are going for a win against Brazil,” a confident Igesund told journalists at a press briefing following his team’s final training session at the Morumbi Stadium yesterday.

However, he registered concern about the condition of the pitch where tonight’s match takes place, saying: “The field is in a shocking condition. It is not in a very good condition and is a disgrace for two nations that play carpet football. Brazil likes playing the ball on the ground and that is the same approach we will use.”

The four-time Premiership-winning coach said his team will play an attacking game. He said this is the type of football Brazil plays and they will find their match in his boys.

“We will play with three strikers as we know they will attack us and we will do the same. It might end up being a high-scoring game.”

There was a positive vibe among the players as Igesund took them through their paces in scorching heat. A number of high fives were exchanged among the team members.

“There is a change in attitude following a period of complacency,” he confirmed, “players are showing more passion, character and are once more proud and realize the importance of putting on the national jersey.”

“This is a new era for South African football.”

He pointed out though that the team had a very short time to prepare for his first assignment as national coach.

“We had to squeeze in three days what would normally take us three weeks.”

This was evident as the team even practised set-pieces. This was similar to 1992 when a then naïve Bafana Bafana did the same in Harare before their first official international match against Zimbabwe.

This proved to be detrimental as the Zimbawean squad, then with a young Peter “Bulawayo Bullet” Ndlovu watched and took notes.

The insight they had gained on South Africa became evident when they walloped the still-wet-behind-the-ears – in international terms – Bafana 4-1.

While Igesund kept his starting line-up to his chest repeating the overly used term that selection will be on merit, it became evident that he would mix old and new.

The likes of Itumeleng Khune, Bennie McCarthy, Siyabonga Sangweni, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Reneilwe Letsolonyane are likely to be among the veterans that start with Punch Masenamela likely to have a look-in at left-back.

Another youngster Dino Ndlovu is also likely to have a say while many other younger players such as Wayne Matle could be introduced should the teams agree on the use of up to six substitutes as this is allowed in friendly matches.

Bafana will travel straight to Nelspruit from here for their Tuesday evening friendly against neighbours the Mambas of Mozambique.

Call it a baptism of fire for Igesund, but the man is ready.

“The result is not very important but as long as we play vin a way that will make South Africans proud, I will be happy. Brazil are not five-time world champions for nothing.”

The match kicks off at 8.45pm South African time.

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