Benni must earn Bafana spot

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iol spt Igesund dec 19 Getty Images Gordon Igesund during the South African National soccer team interview session. Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

Johannesburg - Gordon Igesund has regularly insisted that Bafana Bafana’s results in recent friendly internationals aren’t that important.

He has used the games to see what he has at his disposal and to fine-tune the squad for theAfrican Nations Cup, to be hosted by South Africa from January 19 to February 10, 2013.

Igesund, one of the most successful local coaches, has won the PSL title on four occasions - with Manning Rangers, Orlando Pirates, Santos and Mamelodi Sundowns.

His appointment as head coach of the South African national football team was the realisation of a long-held ambition.

Throughout his brief tenure, Igesund has always said that he should be judged on Bafana’s performances at the Nations Cup.

His employers at the SA Football Association have handed him the mandate of taking Bafana to, at least, the semi-finals of the tournament.

Bafana have three warm-up friendlies before the start of the continental showpiece - against Malawi in Durban on Saturday (kick-off 5pm), Norway in Cape Town on January 8, and Algeria at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on January 12.

Igesund has named a 24-man squad to do duty on Saturday, with a further 12 names joining for a training camp in Joburg from December 27-30. It is from these 36 names that the coach will name the final 23-man squad that will represent the country at the Nations Cup. Igesund is scheduled to make this important announcement on December 30.

Among the additional 12 names is Orlando Pirates’ Benni McCarthy.

McCarthy, while fit, is still looking like he needs to shed a few pounds. He was injured on his return to the Bafana squad after playing just nine minutes against Brazil in September.

Igesund, aware of the Capetonian’s finishing ability, has, however, given the striker an opportunity to prove he deserves another shot at the Nations Cup.

Cape Argus

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