Nightmare weekend for Igesund
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund can't wait for the weekend to pass before his squad departs on Monday for the international fixture against Poland in Warsaw next week.
Igesund said his entire squad - both players in the local Premiership and those plying their trade overseas - were involved in fixtures for their clubs over the next couple of days.
"I'm holding thumbs, and it's very much a case of no news being good news for me as far as the issue of possible injuries is concerned," he said.
The Bafana coach said he had meticulously assembled a squad that was free of injuries for the international friendly in Poland and another fixture against Kenya in Nairobi the following week.
"It is now in the lap of the gods as to whether all the players will come through their club matches without any mishaps," he said.
"We even went as far as checking out the fitness of several players - among them Teko Modise - who have missed their club matches recently.
"Those who did not come out of the test with flying colours were sidelined."
Igesund said he had compiled a list of standbyes in case of any last-minute withdrawals and the players' clubs had been informed of their names.
"It's like walking on a tightrope, and I'll be greatly relieved if the weekend passes and we emerge with a clean slate as far as injuries are concerned."
Igesund also confirmed that he had been informed of former captain Steven Pienaar's retirement from international competition less than 24 hours before the squad was announced on Tuesday.
"SAFA received the news from Pienaar at 17:00 on Monday," he said.
"Up to that point, I had him pencilled in among the selected players - and also as the captain."
Igesund did not believe the loss of the Everton midfielder was a train smash.
"No player is indispensible," he said.
"We regret his departure but I have a great deal of belief in the players I have chosen."
Igesund said he also had full confidence in new captain Bongani Khumalo.
"He has all the qualities and the right temperament to be the leader and I could not ask for a better choice for the job."