Oz media slate ‘Bafana Bafarce’Comment on this story
Cape Town - Bafana Bafarce! This is how the Australian media have described the Bafana Bafana squad crisis, which has gone from ridiculous to disgraceful in just 24 hours.
It could be Gordon Igesund’s last two matches in charge of the national team and the Bafana coach is getting a rude send-off after more players pulled out of the squad going on tour to face Australia and New Zealand.
Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Teko Modise pulled out because he is “tired”, while the Orlando Pirates pair of Oupa Manyisa and Thabo Matlaba did not even bother to pitch up for their injuries to be assessed by the medical team, which is the normal procedure for injured players.
With all these withdrawals and the lack of commitment shown by players, the writing seems to be on the wall for Igesund, who will be evaluated by Safa one last time during these friendly matches before they make an official announcement about his future.
But Igesund says Safa have already made up their minds and he’ll just wait to hear his fate when his contract expires in August.
“It’s very simple and clear. My contract comes to an end in August. I am sure Safa have already made up their minds, they are not going to wait to see what happens in Australia. They know what they want to do. But that’s the furthest thing from my mind now. I am trying to get this team motivated.”
Igesund also did not want to focus on players who are not in the squad.
“I cannot really say what action is going to be taken against the (Pirates) players. The CEO (Dennis Mumble) will sit down and find out what happened. I have to focus on my team that is going to Australia.
“I spoke to Teko two days ago. I said to him that I know it is short notice, but I explained the situation to him. I asked him if he would be available to come and he said he would get back to me in 10 minutes.
“He did not get back to me, but he sent an SMS to Barney Kujane (team manager) stating that he is sorry and that he is not going to make it because he feels he had a tough season. His body is very tired, and that’s the reason why he pulled out and he apologised.
“He made his choice, but this is not the end of Teko. It has never been the end of Teko. He has matured and he has applied himself and I am happy with that. He could possibly play a role in 2015.
“This is nothing strange for me. We are in a good place now because I have a pool of about 34 players. So when certain players pull out, it’s not difficult for me to replace them.”
Another player who could not honour a call-up is Wits striker Sthembiso Ngcobo, who chose family over playing for the national team.
“He was also chosen, but he chose not to come because he wanted to spend time with his family in Durban.”
Bafana did not train on Tuesday because they only had eight players in camp, but managed to get a full session with 16 players on Wednesday.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane, whose national team career looked to be over, is back in the team as a replacement for Modise. SuperSport United left-back Sibusiso Khumalo has come in for Matlaba, while Siyabonga Nhlapo of Wits has replaced Manyisa.
Platinum Stars striker Siphelele Mthembu was due to arrive late on Wednesday as a replacement for Kermit Erasmus, who was actually a replacement for Bernard Parker, but could not join the squad because he was already on a flight to Holland for a holiday with his family.
“Mthembu was on holiday, but he chose to come back, which shows the passion he has for this team,” said Igesund.
“But if I was Australia I would not be talking so much. The players who are here can put up a good show. I hope we can put up a good show and play well, and I believe we can do that.”
Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Thulani Serero was also due to join the team late on Wednesday.