Igesund wants early release of overseas players for Afcon

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pretoria - Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund and his assistant Serame Letsoaka will on Monday visit South African players in England and request that their clubs release them early ahead of the 2013 African Nations Cup (Afcon).

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

"According to FIFA rules, the players can only report for national duty 14 days before the start of the Afcon tournament; in this case it will be the 5th of January. Our main aim in England will be to try and get the players released early from their respective clubs so that they can join us at least 21 days before the start of the Afcon 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.

Igesund and Letsoaka will depart on Monday soon after announcing the squad that will face the reigning African champions Zambia for the annual Nelson Mandela challenge on 14 November at Soccer City in what promises to be an explosive affair.

Another reason for their visit 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 Igesund, Afcon is an important tournament for the country. "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 and I believe with communication, sincerity and support we can make this happen," he said.

Igesund and Letsoaka are also hoping to meet with former Bafana captain Steven Pienaar, who has retired from international football.

After the match against Zambia, the coaches also intending travelling to Greece, Belgium and Holland to meet the managers of the South African players based there to make the same request. - SAnews.gov.za

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