Get out, Gordon!

2009-11-11 00:00

AFTER exactly a season-and-a-half in charge of Maritzburg United, coach Gordon Igesund and the club agreed to part ways yesterday.

While officially the coach resigned based on United’s mediocre results, the club stressed it did not stand in Igesund’s way. Indications are that the four-time Premier Soccer League title-winning coach was allowed to resign to save face.

United finished 12th last season, surviving relegation on the last day of the campaign. This season, United followed a familiar pattern of starting in fine form, including beating Kaizer Chiefs in Johannesburg, before becoming less convincing.

United, currently in 12th place again, lost 4-0 to Santos at the weekend, though they did manage a creditable 1-1 away draw against Orlando Pirates in the previous game. In the three games before that, all at home, the team drew against last-placed Jomo Cosmos, beat third-last Mpumalanga Black Aces 1-0 and drew against fourth-last Free State Stars.

United chairman Farouk Kadodia said he realises Igesund’s departure may be perceived as sudden.

“The coach came to the club offices this morning [yesterday] and came up with the idea that he would resign.

“And whether it was for personal reasons, or feeling the pressure, or if the coach has somewhere else to go, we felt it was the best way forward,” Kadodia said.

“If we were in the top eight, we would not consider his resignation. But given the current poor performances of the team, if the coach wanted to try somewhere else the club would not be unhappy.

“We just stipulated that if he wanted to leave it had to be with immediate effect.”

With just 16 points from 15 games, United appear headed for another relegation battle, though their form might also have turned around.

“I think firstly you have to understand that we have invested strongly in the players and brought in Afzal Khan as CEO to improve our structures,” Kadodia said. “We felt the team was at a higher level than last season and we didn’t want to consider fighting relegation.

“Anyone can say there are still 15 games to go and things can still turn around. But we didn’t want to keep Gordon here if he was unhappy in Pietermaritzburg, because then there would not have been a way forward.”

With a two-week break until their next game against SuperSport United in Tshwane on November 21, United have some breathing space to appoint the right coach to succeed Igesund.

“We don’t want to rush our decision, but we do feel it is important to have someone appointed at least five days before our next game,” Kadodia said. “We expect to be able to see what we have on the table by the end of the business day today.

“We would prefer to have a coach for the future and without doubt if such a coach is available he would be the first we would go for.”

Igesund’s resignation may set off a minor merry-go-round in the PSL. Speculation has been that Igesund could join Black Aces, and this will be fuelled by Aces firing coach Sammy Troughton yesterday.

Meanwhile Ian Palmer, who promoted United back to the PSL before being replaced by Igesund, was last night set to part with First Division team African Warriors.

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