COSAFA CUP DEFEAT

South Africa were recently knocked out of the Cosafa Cup by Zambia in a penalty shootout. After the match, South Africa manager Gordon Igesund stated that despite the loss his team at the better team in the match.

The match ended as a 0-0 draw after extra time. Hence, it needed penalties to bring out the winner between the two teams. Zambia came out of the lottery as the winners after a 5-3 score. Igesund made some significant changes to the starting line-up.

The team have just come on the back of a victory against Namibia, but the manager decided to freshen things up.
Igesund said after the match that he would like to congratulate Zambia, but he said that it never feels nice when a team is defeated on penalties. South Africa hit the post on two occasions during the match and they could have easily won it had they had more luck.

Despite an intimidating home crowd, South Africa’s problems were more down to finishing their opportunities according to the manager. The focus will now be shifting towards the World Cup qualifying. South Africa have an important World Cup qualifying match against Botswana coming up in September.
They will be preparing solely with the purpose of beating Botswana.

“I think it was a very good game of two teams having a go at each other. I would like to congratulate Zambia for the win, although it is never nice to lose on penalties. I thought we were better tonight and as you saw we hit the post twice. I am just disappointed for the boys because I would have loved to see them in the final because they gave their all. The crowd did not affect us because we stuck to our game plan and took the game to our opposition, it is just unfortunate we could not get the desired result,” said Igesund.

IGESUND REFUTRE RUMOURS

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.

CAPE HOPE

Cape Town has been proven to be a difficult place for South Africa, as the team has managed three consecutive defeats in the matches staged at this city.

However, manager Gordon Igesund has said that he has no problem with playing matches at Cape Town, and he is confident that his team will be able to get three points against Central African Republic. South Africa prepare for the crucial World Cup qualifying match against Central African Republic. The team comes on the back of a disappointing performance at the African cup of nations. After having played two matches, South Africa are fighting to finish top of group.

Igesund has also said that there is nothing to complain about the atmosphere generated by the home fans within the stadium. South Africa are under pressure to deliver three points from this match if they are to keep up with the likes of Ethiopia at the top of the table. Three points is also extremely essential because the next match will not be until June. South Africa take on both Central African Republic and Ethiopia in the space of one week, which could go a long way in determining the possibility of South Africa playing in their second World Cup.

“I don’t know what happened before, I just know that the last game we played here was against Norway and I was very happy with the way the team played. That was a friendly match and I was experimenting and trying things out, but I think we played fantastic against a team like Norway. I mean, we had 70 per cent possession … we had everything going for us that day. I don’t look what happened before. We will win this weekend and that’s all we have to do,” said the South African manager.

TIPPED TO DO WELL

South Africa were expected to do well at the 2013 African cup of nations due to the home advantage, but they crashed out of the tournament in the quarter-final stage itself. The national team, though, was slightly unlucky due to the fact that they had to exit the tournament after their defeat in the quarter-finals against Mali on penalties.

After the exit, the manager Gordon Igesund said that he is extremely proud of his players and they have made an incredible amount of progress since the World Cup. Igesund has been the manager of the national team for the last seven months now.

He has now set his sights upon winning the 2015 African cup of nations. South Africa took the lead in the match against Mali through Rantie. However, Mali managed to equalise through a goal from Keita in the second half. It remained the way until the end of the match. Even into the extra time, there was no separating the two teams. When it came to the lottery of the penalties, three South African players missed the penalties, which ultimately resulted in the team going out of the competition. Igesund will now be focusing on preparing his players for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in the month of March.

“We lost with pride, dignity and passion. We have proven that we can match anybody. It’s just a pity with penalties – it’s the luck of the draw. If I can say that maybe we have made huge strides, we got better and better as the tournament went on. We gave everything out there. We will pick ourselves up and come back stronger. An experience I will never forget. Tonight luck was on Mali’s side. They took their penalty kicks well,” said the South African manager after the defeat to Mali.

SUPPORT MATTERS

South Africa will be playing at home for the 2013 African cup of nations, but the manager of the national team – Gordon Igesund – is not entirely confident that his team will have the best support at this tournament.

The coach has said that he noticed a large section of the crowd that was unhappy with the striker Katlego Mphela in the recent friendly match against Norway. Katlego Mphela missed a number of good opportunities in front of goal in this match, which the Bafana Bafana team lost 1-0. Igesund has said that the players should feel the support from the fans and not the opposite.

He has said that fans should remember the fact that players are human beings as well and they are prone to making mistakes. The negative reaction from the crowd has an equal effect on the player, who will also start thinking negatively and this will affect his performances on the pitch even further. Even though the team did not manage to score many goals in the match against Norway, Igesund is extremely confident that his team will find the back of the net on a regular basis at the African cup of nations. The team will be playing in one more friendly match against Algeria before the tournament.

“There is a great vibe out there, but I don’t think it’s from everybody at the moment. To get a crowd behind you, they (the crowd) have to be realistic and support. The fans are not supporting Katlego Mphela at the moment. Players are human beings. When a player has the support of the crowd, the player wants to get into the opposition area again and again. When the crowd start booing and start saying things, the player starts thinking negatively and he no longer gets into the area, he starts hiding,” Igesund.

IMPORTANT MATCHES

The South African national team manager Gordon Igesund has said that the team will be playing in three important friendly matches against Zambia, Norway, and Algeria as preparation for the 2013 African cup of nations. The African cup of nations will be held in South Africa, thus giving the nation an ideal opportunity to win this tournament.

The first match for the nation will be against Cape Verde Islands. Gordon Igesund has said that he has not been trying out new formations and styles with the team, but has been just looking at the players for this competition.

As a result, the three matches against Zambia, Norway, and Algeria give them a great opportunity to try out new aspects that will push them towards success at the African cup of nations. Due to the fact that many high-profile teams like Ivory Coast and Ghana come into the tournament with relative degree of weaknesses, Igesund thinks that this is a great opportunity for them to win. Igesund has revealed that he will announce the final 23 man squad for the tournament after the Norway match. He has said that the result of the encounter is not important from these matches, but the performance is what matters.

“Because of the fact that we have a match against Malawi, then a three day break and then another camp, I can’t call one squad for this and one squad for the other, so that is why I have called up a squad of plus minus 30 players and keep on changing them. I would also like to give some of the players who have recently returned to action after injuries, a chance to prove themselves. This game against Malawi is like the other five games we have already played, winning and losing is not important,” said Igesund.

SURMAN REJECTS SOUTH AFRICA

The South African National football team manager Gordon Igesund has said that he will not be trying to persuade the Norwich city defender Andrew Surman anymore after the 26-year-old apparently rejected the opportunity to play for the Bafana Bafana.

Recently Gordon Igesund met with the Norwich city defender Andrew Surman in order to speak about the possibility of playing for the South African national team. Even at the 26 years of age, Surman is yet to make his debut for an international team. He is eligible to play for both South Africa and England, but is thought to be keen on representing England.

Hence, Igesund has said that he thought that the meeting with the player was pointless after just 5 min because he was not showing enough passion. Surman was born in the South African capital Johannesburg 26 years ago, but he has very little ties with the African nations according to the manager. Hence, it would have been a massive favour from the player if he decided to play for South Africa, and Igesund is in no need of favours right now. Igesund has failed to criticise the player for not showing enough interest in playing for the South African national team.

“I am not disappointed at all. I think it was my duty to go and see Surman and after five or six minutes I realised that I was wasting my time. I do not think that he showed enough passion for me to even consider him. He has got no ties to South Africa and I think if I had tried to convince him, he would have thought he was doing us a favour. And I do not need favours from any players,” said Igesund regarding the future of Andrew Surman. South Africa will play against Zambia in a friendly match.

IGESUND IS CONFIDENT

The South African national team manager Gordon Igesund has said that he is extremely confident that his team will be able to dominate the African cup of nations that will be held in January this year.

South Africa have the experience of playing in high profile friendlies matches against the likes of Brazil, while they were also recently involved in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Gordon Igesund has said that such experience has helped the players become much better and it will come to the forte when South Africa play in the African cup of nations this year should they qualify for this tournament.

One of the biggest advantages South Africa will have in this tournament will be the home support. It almost helped the nation qualify for the next round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup before they were eliminated in the group stages. Gordon Igesund is confident that the home support will once again play an important role, but this time they will help the team win the title itself. Due to the incredible home support, South Africa go into the African cup of nations 2013 as one of the favourites to win the title.

“I think at the moment there is a great vibe in the country regarding our national team. I know when this national team goes into the field and there are 60 000 people blowing their vuvuzelas, truly supporting the players and getting behind the team, we will be very difficult to beat. If the boys continue with their positive attitude, we really can go places including conquering Africa of course,” Igesund told the official website of the South African football Federation. He has recently confirmed that he is ready to look at players playing outside South Africa when it comes to picking his squad.

SURPRISED BY QUALITY

The South African national team manager Gordon Igesund has said that he is extremely surprised at the quality of the overseas players of the South African national team. A number of the South African players have started moving to overseas clubs in recent seasons.

Once upon a time, players like Benni McCarthy were the very few contingent who were playing their football in other continents. However, that situation has changed a lot in recent times according to the manager of the national team, Gordon Igesund. He has praised this attitude amongst the South African players by saying that it has improved their quality.

Kagisho Dikgacoi and Dean Furnham are some of the players plying their trade in English football. The former is currently playing for the Championship club Crystal Palace, while the latter is playing for the League One club will Oldham athletic. Both these players have been extremely good for the club teams in the last season, which has ensured that the national team has also improved and benefited from their experience. Bongani Khumalo and Kamohelo Mokotjo play in the Greek and Dutch leagues respectively. They play for PAOK and Feyenoord respectively.

“Not everyone being observed will automatically get called to the national team. This is a normal exercise in the name of fairness that I assess as many players as possible. Having said that, I must admit that I am generally happy with what I have seen from most of these players. It gives me a fantastic headache because I will have a bigger pool on which to choose from,” said the manager of the South African national team, Gordon Igesund in a recent interview. South Africa will be facing the host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil, in September. It is one of the much anticipated matches.

BRAZIL LINE UP FRIENDLY

The South African national team will be playing a friendly match against five-time world champion Brazil. The South African Football Association confirmed this news at a recent press conference.

Brazil for qualified for the World Cup 2014 as the host nation for the competition. As a result, they will be not having the usual preparation in the form of the World Cup qualifiers. They have been playing a number of friendly matches against high-profile teams such as Fernando Torres‘s Spain and Lionel Messi‘s Argentina and also upcoming games in order to judge their squad for this major tournament. Brazil are undoubtedly one of the favourites to win the tournament itself.

South Africa were the host of the last World Cup in 2010. This will be travelling to São Paulo in order to face Brazil on 7 September 2012. It is not the first time the South African national team will be taking on the Brazilians. The two teams have already met each other back in 2009 during the FIFA Confederations Cup. Only a Daniel Alves helped Brazil win the match after some stern defending from South Africa. It will be a different Brazil team they will be facing this time around, as the coach has been using a number of young players as preparation for the World Cup.

“We are honoured to be playing Brazil in their backyard as they seldom play friendly matches at home. To us this is a big coup considering it will probably be the first official match for the new Bafana Coach whom we will announce at the end of this month. We are very delighted to announce that we have just received the final confirmation because we have been working on this match for the last six months,” said the chief executive of the South African Football Association, Dr Petersen.