Igesund awaits Chiefs players
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund is confident that the Kaizer Chiefs players who failed to arrive for national team duty will do so by Sunday.
"All the players are here excepting the Kaizer Chiefs players. There was a meeting yesterday [Friday], negotiations with Kaizer Chiefs took place," Igesund said in Cape Town on Saturday.
"Later on today [Saturday] there will be a full statement regarding that. I would like to thank Kaizer Motaung and Irvin Khoza for engaging in the negotiations and to try and assist where they can.
"Everyone has come to the party, and it looks like I will be having my full squad. The Kaizer Chiefs players will hopefully be arriving tomorrow [Sunday]."
Igesund has been battling for the last few weeks to try and make sure that the players he called up for the tournament are available to him.
Bernard Parker, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Itumeleng Khune, Tsepo Masilela and Tefu Mashamaite were all part of the 23-man squad Igesund named in December, but have not yet joined up with the Bafana camp, after Chiefs refused to release them for the continental tournament.
The Chan tournament is not a Fifa-endorsed event and as a result, local teams are not obligated to release their players for national team duty.
Igesund, however, confirmed that the remainder of the squad were present and had reported for duty, after various agreements were reached between the SA Football Association (Safa) and the clubs.
"All the others are now in camp, one player missing is Moeneeb Josephs. He is in Cape Town, although we have not been able to contact him in the last 24 hours. I'm sure we will soon."
The four-time Premier Soccer League (PSL) title-winning manager went on to say that he was not holding any grudges at the lack of support he had received in some cases, explaining that he accepts the situation.
"I want to make it clear, this has been trying times for everyone over the last few weeks. I fully understand the clubs having players and fixture issues.
"But I do want to take this opportunity to thank all the teams in the PSL, especially Wits, Chiefs, Tuks, Swallows, Celtic, and Platinum Stars, for engaging in making this thing happen for us.
"Everyone has been saying there are fights between the PSL and Safa, but there haven't been fights, there have been negotiations, and they have been tough. There have been meetings between clubs and Safa, I'm very happy to say these things have been sorted out, we have got the players."
South Africa were drawn to face Mozambique in the opening match of Chan, with Nigeria and Mali completing a tough group A.
The tournament, which is reserved exclusively for players playing inside their respective countries' borders, gets underway on January 11, with Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Polokwane hosting the event which runs until February 1.