IGUSUND UNDETERRED BY PLAYERS’ WITHDRAWALS
By: Sihle Ndebele
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igusund remains motivated despite some players withdrawing from the set up ahead of two international friendly games.
Igusund’s charges will take on Australia on Sunday in Sydney and then New Zealand four days later on May 30.
Although some of the key players have been withdrawn from the national side by their clubs, the coach remains confident that his boys will do well.
“I have put together a big squad of around 34 players which is young and excited about playing for the country, so those who I have called as replacements are part of that broader squad. They are very capable players,” Igusund wa squoted as saying SAFA’s website on Tuesday.
The coach said that all these games are there as part of the preparations for the 2015 Morocco Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Igusund added that all the players he called later as replacements, should grab the opportunity by both hands and he believes in them and their capabilities.
“This is an opportunity for those selected to raise their hands and be counted. They are young and should compete,” Igesund said.
Kaizer Chiefs quartet of Itumeleng Khune, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Bernad Parker and Tsepo Masilela are the players who will not travel with the team after they withdrew due to injuries.
Khune has a groin strain and is still recovering from the ankle injury he suffered during the season; Tshabalala is suffering from a toe injury; Parker is scheduled to undergo surgery on his ankle; and Masilela has a knee injury that is under observation.
“It has been a long season for most of these players and there is little I can do about injuries. Injuries are part of the game of football and there is no one to be blamed for this,” he added.
The withdrawals prompted Igusund to call up the likes of Senzo Meyiwa, Kermit Erasmus, Thuso Phala and the young Thato Mokeke as the replacements to Chiefs players that pulled out.
Bafana will depart on the 22nd of May to take on the Socceroos of Australia before they play New Zealand.