South African manager Gordon Igesund has said that he never refused to play at the Cosafa Cup, but he has refused to play a weakened team at this tournament. Officials from the South African Premier league and the football Association of the country will be meeting in order to decide on the players being released for this tournament.
It is understood that the Premier league clubs are not willing to allow their players to join up for the national team.
Igesund has clarified that he never refused to take part in the Cosafa Cup, but he has refused to do so with a weakened team because it would affect the teams ranking.
The tournament will be taking place in Zambia in July and it is a regional tournament. The football Association are expected to request around 12 players to be released for international duty. Due to the fact that South Africa are one of the seeded teams in the competition, they will be starting from the quarter-final stage. Igesund has said that there is a real danger of the team’s rankings plummeting if they go to this tournament with a weakened team and suffer a defeat.
The team is currently ranked 56th in the world by FIFA, and the results of Cosafa Cup are used in the calculation of the rankings.
“I have never said I don’t want to go to the Cosafa Cup. What I said was that we need to decide what team we send there. If I get 12 or 15 players of the current team, I’ll be happy. We will have to do our best there because the results might have huge repercussions. If we go there with a junior team and lose, people will say we are useless. We can’t go there as some development team – we have to go as Bafana,” said Igesund.