3 November 2012

South Africa: Bafana Bafana Coaches to Travel to England for Talks With Club Managers

Photo: Chris Kirchhoff/MediaClubSouthAfrica
Bafana Bafana, South Africa's national football squad.

Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund and his assistant Serame Letsoaka will on Monday, 5 November 2012 travel to England to visit South African players based in that country.

The two will leave soon after announcing the squad that will play reigning African champions Zambia on 14 November 2012 at FNB Stadium in what promises to be an explosive affair. They are expected to return home the following Saturday, 10 November.

During their visit, they will hold several meetings with managers of the likes of Kagisho Dikgacoi of Crystal Palace, Dean Furman of Oldham Athletic and several other players.

The main reason for this journey is to create a good working relationship with overseas-based players and their clubs considering that after the Zambia game, there won't be FIFA dates leading up to the AFCON tournament.

"According to FIFA rules, the players can only report for national duty 14 days before the start of the AFCON tournament; in this case will be the 5th of January," said Bafana coach Igesund.

"Our main aim in England will be to try and get the players released early from their clubs so they can join us at least 21 days before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

That means we would like to assemble the team around the Christmas festive period. This would be the perfect time to mould them into a unit because the past four matches have been mainly to look at different players and combinations," said Igesund.

"We are playing a very important tournament for the country, and it is for this reason that we have to engage the managers to see if those players that we would have selected can't be available when we start our camp.

South Africa will reciprocate by not calling up some of those players when their clubs have important fixtures in future. If we can get 60 percent of them on time, that will be an achievement. I believe with communication, sincerity and support we can make this happen."

Also on the radar of the same trip to England is the Andrew Surman of Norwich City issue.

"I believe it is my responsibility to go and see him, find out from him whether he still wants to play for South Africa.

I am not going there to beg him to play for us because if he is not interested then he won't deliver. I am also aware that he was approached before to represent Bafana Bafana but it just never happened, so we need to get to the bottom of this so we can move on.

He is a very good player who has played for England at junior level, so it would be great to have him on board," added Igesund.

Time and programme permitting, Igesund and Letsoaka will also meet up with former Bafana Bafana captain Steven Pienaar, who has retired from international football.

After the clash against Zambia, the coaches also intend travelling to Greece, Belgium and Holland to meet the managers of the South African players based there to make the same request.

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