Johannesburg – Gordon Igesund said on Monday he would “not talk myself into a job”, but then immediately conceded he would love to continue as Bafana Bafana coach until after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Igesund, whose contract with the SA Football Association runs out next July, failed to meet two set mandates – taking Bafana into next year’s World Cup finals and the semi-finals of this year’s the Africa Cup of Nations – and his future beyond next winter is unclear, hence he wants it decided sooner rather than later.
He admitted a contract extension could hinge largely on the Safa elective conference at the end of this month.
“There’re elections on September 28, and who knows what’s going to happen after that?” Igesund remarked. “There could be a massive turnaround, not only on the political front but also technical department.
“My mandate was to qualify for the World Cup and I didn’t achieve that. But I would prefer if I’m told, after September 28, that I can start on a clean slate.”
Safa vice-presidents Danny Jordaan and Mandla Mazibuko will face off in a presidential election that’s sure to shake the organisation’s headquarters, but Igesund – who has received assurance that his job is safe at least until next year – hopes he’ll be presented with a new offer after that.
“We can’t have a situation where we go through motions … people saying let’s see how he does in the Chan (African Nations Championship). After that there’s the Nations Cup in 2015. Some would say let’s wait for that – it can’t work like that. You can’t be signing six-month contracts. You need to show planning for the long term. I don’t want to talk myself into a job, but we’ve made too many mistakes in the past, like getting in a new coach a few months before a major tournament. This time we can look forward to 2018 from now.”
While he accepted “full responsibility” for Bafana’s failure to make the World Cup, Igesund said he was encouraged by his past year in charge, and vowed he would ensure SA qualified for every tournament under his tutelage.
“My mandate was very difficult but we nearly achieved it. I can’t blame anyone, not (former coach) Pitso (Mosimane).
“But my biggest question is are we gonna have continuity? The future is bright. The team has a better structure and there’s no reason why this country shouldn’t qualify for tournaments. If we are allowed to continue here with what we have started, we’ll qualify for every tournament,” he said boldly.
Igesund, meanwhile, will use this evening’s friendly against Zimbabwe (Orlando Stadium, 8.30pm) to give fringe players a chance, with a firm eye on the future.
“Now that we don’t have competitive games, the time has come for us to take risks. You can lose with these young players now but in two years’ time they’ll have gained massive experience.”
At least six changes can be expected in Tuesday’s line-up, with the likes of Bongani Khumalo, Anele Ngcongca, Dean Furman, Tokelo Rantie and Kagisho Dikgacoi – all of who started Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Botswana – having now been released to their overseas clubs. Another player who will be replaced from Saturday’s XI is Thabo Matlaba, the Orlando Pirates defender who also was sent back to his club as they have an African Champions League tie this weekend.
Igesund revealed the only overseas-based player remaining in the squad – goalkeeper Darren Keet – will make his debut on Tuesday
“We brought him in to assess him because we’ve been hearing he’s doing well. We want to see for ourselves and he’ll definitely get a run.”