The coach looks beyond the horizon

We chat with coach Gordon Igesund about his move to the club, and what the future holds...

1.Now that you have settled in, how do you view the ambitions of the Directors and your thoughts on their management set up.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the Club with the professionalism of the Directors and the overall administration. They have been very accommodating with my needs which made my settling in very easy. As for their ambitions, I share their vision.

2. Being a Durbanite, now working and settled in Pietermaritzburg how does the City of Choice grab you?

Being from the province and with a difference of some 90 kms. It is very much home for me, I now know why they call it the “City of Choice”. Interestingly the surf is just 45 mins away.

3.Maritzburg United is an emerging football power in KZN, what’s your take on the branding side of the team. Are there any suggestions

When you consider the pain and effort the Kadodia brothers have put in to keeping football in Pietermaritzburg, it is essential that a product is born of the effort. I want to believe that a winning team and the growing support base will create a niche in the marketing world and with careful nurturing by the administration department it will attract the potential business partners. My take is that business in the greater Pietermaritzburg must identify with United and look at avenues that will benefit the Team and City of Choice. Lest we forget the 2010 and beyond.

4. In your initial interview with the media you spoke about developing a product as part of your plans for the Team of Choice , can you elaborate ?

A product for me is based on our winning ways which I am looking to achieve. If the gods are with us and we achieve that, United will create a product that will attract people to the stadium and follow the team. This will make us into a product. By nature we all want to identify with the best product, and it is my mission to make United the best product.

5. You made it known that you want to build a team that can challenge for League honours and you have the pedigree and the track record. What are your short term goals on the road to glory?

Right now you have to understand that we are well behind our pre-season programme in comparison to our opponents. This was attributed to the play-offs which severely hampered various areas in the Club. But for starters I am looking for a respectable log position and to sustain the status and maybe a cup. The league could be our goal for 2009/2010 or a season later, provided we are organized.

6. The Directors have invested heavily on development with the view of potential players making the transition. Do you share a similar sentiment and what plans have you in mind for the already structured development programme?

From the outset I must mention that development is close to my heart. I am of the opinion the Directors have invested wisely, simply because the club has to look at its own resources especially with players. Huge investments on the purchase of players creates financial headaches for the Club.

I will be working closely with all within the development structure, once the first team is organized and settled. I have heard positive comments on United’s development. Regarding the players from the Academy team, I will be definitely considering players for that transition. I see some of these players making the transition on condition that they meet my criteria.

7. With the team’s home ground Harry Gwala Stadium undergoing renovations ,the Woodburn Rugby Stadium has been earmarked for your home games with the exception of your fixtures against the Soweto giants. Are you pleased with the facilities?

Grounds have become a problem for all soccer teams, not only the PSL, but with the renovations to all stadias in the country because of the world cup. However I am satisfied that United’s management has secured a ground that is central and accessible for our supporters, which was my major concern. We owe it to supporters. It is unfortunate that some games will be played in Durban or Hammarsdale. But I am sure United’s management will be looking at avenues for our supporters to be at these venues.

8. Pietermaritzburg is the political capital of KZN and with United back in the PSL, what opportunities can the City of Choice expect and tap into?

As I said earlier that City of Choice must acknowledge the Kadodias efforts in retaining PSL football. The Hotel industry will benefit hugely and the informal trader will have opportunity to access our “Fan Mile” to sell an assortment of goodies from supporters needs to food. The local sports outlets will also benefit both through replica sales and the general soccer marketed products.

9. It is known that you are a tough task master, are you pleased with your technical team and are they adapting to your style and way of how things should be done, can you elaborate?

While I might be known to be a “task master”, I also believe I am very fair. The goal is to ensure that success is a team effort. We all have to fit the picture in our respective roles. I am pleased with the technical team that I have assembled with all coming from football backgrounds and they are aware of what is required of them.

10. Some big name signings have been made, are you pleased with the squad? Do you still have any positional concerns? Or is the squad balanced and do they meet the criteria for your goal for the title?

I think its incorrect to say that we have made some big name signings. We have players that have “big” reputations but also hard working and honest. We have no “prim madonas” and its my trade mark to work with players with a high level of work ethic, a huge appetite for success, reliability, honesty and tactical awareness.

I would like to strengthen certain areas, however as I have mentioned earlier the play-offs was not good for us. Most of our opposition had first choice of players available, but overall I am pleased with what we have and the belief that we have a squad that can do the job.

11. The Team of Choice has a growing band of supporters and have always been a soccer loving city, is there a message for them and what should they expect?

Firstly, supporters believe now that Gordon’s here we are on our way. It’s a feeling that I get when I meet people, but they need to understand that we will have to be patient. While we have a balanced squad, the team has not had enough game time to gel, which a major concern.

We all have to understand that achieving success is a process and as I had stated earlier we were denied a full pre-season period, that now will have to absorbed
in the first round competition period..

I am positive that together with your support we will turn the corner and make the “Team of Choice” a huge success, but I need your support and patience.