Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa hailed the decision by Gordon Igesund on Thursday to release his players from the national squad for the two friendly matches against Nigeria and Burkino Faso.
“Hats off to Gordon for making the right decision in my mind,” said De Sa after he heard the news.
“I would have expected it to happen, but I spoke to Gordon and he understood where I was coming from. It was a footballing decision and common sense prevailed.” Igesund earlier Thursday said he recognised the importance of the Pirates match and it swayed his decision.
“Orlando Pirates play the game of their lives against Zamalek on August 17,” said Igesund in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“I would like to thank the manner in which Orlando Pirates handled this matter. They didn't demand they have their players released, they requested it.” Igesund said he had considered the possibility of withdrawals when he named his original 28-man squad for the two friendly fixtures against Nigeria on August 14 and Burkino Faso on August 17.
The coach named David Mathebula and Bennett Chenene as cover for the Pirates players.
Pirates coach Roger de Sa said on Wednesday he wanted to withdraw his players from the Bafana squad for next week's friendly as the match fell three days before his side faced Egyptian club Zamalek in a CAF Champions league group A match at Orlando Stadium.
He felt the six selected players - Andile Jali, Daine Klate, Senzo Meywia, Thabo Matlaba, Oupa Manyisa and Thandani Ntshumayelo - would not have had enough time to rest before their crucial club fixture.
Igesund said it was in the best interests of South Africa to ensure Pirates have the best chancing of advancing in the African tournament.
“There are times when we have to look at the broader interest of the nation.
"If they do win, it will ensure we get another team in the CAF champions league, and South Africa will receive better seedings at CAF tournaments.”