Igesund's squad grilled
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Gordon Igesund is learning the hard way how different coaching the national team is to guiding a club.
No sooner had the four-time PSL-winning coach announced his squad for the all-important 2014 Soccer World Cup qualifier against the Central African Republic (CAR) than he had to answer questions on the players he had not selected.
While the coach explained why he had left out captain Bongani Khumalo - a good move if you ask me following his under-par showing at the recent Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) - questions came in thick and fast about Andile Jali and others.
People started pointing out that the Orlando Pirates player had made some unsavory statements about Igesund on the soccer weekly, Laduma.
However, looking at the article, all the player said was that his bread was buttered on the Orlando Pirates side as this is where he gets his salary from every month.
Nothing wrong with that, I would say. I actually saw nothing personal in that interview.
I just can’t find it in my heart to believe that Igesund will stoop as low as to not selecting a player because of what he said in the media. That would be petty and I don’t expect it from any national coach.
And then it moved on to other players who are not in the team.
My question is: Why should we concentrate on who is not the team rather than those players that are selected?
No coach goes out to lose a game. Why should he? Because he knows that at the end of the day, it’s his neck on the block.
In the whole sideshow that ensued, people forgot just how important this match is.
Instead of grilling the coach about players he did not select, it would have been more beneficial to quiz him on his acknowledgement of how important this game is and what his plans for the match happen to be.
But no! Not South Africans.
Only if things go awry in the match will people realise that CAR are actually no slouches.
The country is ranked ninth on the continent, that’s two places above the 11th placed Bafana Bafana and at 52, CAR is eight places above our beloved national tea who are 60th on the latest FIFA rankings.
Even a quick glance at Group standings will show that CAR are second after Ethiopia on three points having won one out of their first two opening matches.
Bafana still have to collect maximum points having floundered against log-leaders Ethiopia and bottom-placed Botswana.
As a nation, we should learn to support those players that the coach selects because they represent all of us.
That Siboniso Gaxa, Lehlohonolo Majoro and other are not in the team, should not be regarded as a train smash.
I just hope that Capetonians do as they did in the last Bafana Bafana match to be played at the Cape Town Stadium against Norway, and come out in large numbers.
This is one of the matches Bafana Bafana must win if they are nursing ambitions of being one of the 32 nations in Brazil next year.S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.Disclaimer:
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