3 April 2009

Igesund: Bafana need a target man

Gordon Igesund believes there were positives to be taken from Bafana Bafana’s performance against Portugal, but feels that the team is missing a target man.

South Africa´s most successful local born coach, Gordon Igesund, has come out in support of Bafana Bafana´s performance after their 2-0 defeat by highly rated Portugal in a friendly international played in
the freezing Swiss city of Lausanne on Tuesday night.

But when asked what advice he would offer if ever Bafana head coach Joel Santana would take the trouble to ask him, Igesund was to the point. "We badly need a targetman in the mould of Phil Masinga. I agree
we can only improve and have done SO by playing European sides like Norway and Portugal, But the national technical team need to identify a striker who can hold up the ball so that the likes of Bernard Parker
and Teko Modise can feed off him."

Igesund said the best targetman in a Bafana jersey was Masinga, nicknamed Chippa by his fans, and who played 58 times for his country, scoring 18 goals.

Masinga is one of SA´s legends. He was fearless and was prepared to put his body on the line every time he played.

Igesund said he liked the look of Red Star Belgrade striker Parker,who worked his socks off against Portugal but had little support: "I think Parker is a great talent but he needs someone to play off. He cannot do the job on his own."

Igesund also believes truant Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy, is not the answer. "Frankly I think Santana should forget Benni. Otherwise if he comes back, he must be prepared to work for his shirt." McCarthy again snubbed Santana and Bafana by claiming an injury prevented him playing in the 2-1 Nelson Mandela Challenge win over Norway last Saturday and against Portugal.

When asked who could possibly step into the shoes of 1996 African Nations Cup winner Masinga, who also starred for Leeds United in the English Premiership and in the tough Italian Serie for Bari, Igesund said: "Two names come to mind. Glen Salmon, who has had a good season for SuperSport United and Terror Fanteni. Both these players can play with their backs to the goal and lay off the ball to attacking

”But if they are not considered, then we should be looking now for a big striker with a physical presence. To me that is Bafana´s biggest weakness."

Igesund said he counted about 15 passes that Modise made either sideways or backwards against Portugal. "Teko had nobody to hit the ball forward to. It was not his fault.

”At Orlando Pirates Teko has players to play to and who can hold the ball. Having a player in the Masinga mould is the answer and we would see a major improvement in Bafana in my opinion."

Both Salmon, who played most of his career in Holland, and Israel based Fanteni played for Banana. Fanteni, who has 16 caps, was discarded by Santana while Salmon last played in the 1-0 win over Namibia in August 2006 in Windhoek when Bafana assistant coach Pitso Mosimane was in charge. He has three caps.

But when asked if Santana had even consulted him, the only local born coach to have won four PSL championships with as many clubs, said:

"No, but in my humble opinion he should maybe ask the PSL coaches for advice. If he does not want to take it, well that is his right. But we could assist him by giving him our opinions. I am sure many of my
colleagues in the PSL feel the same."

In fact, one top PSL coach said Santana had never spoken to him since he took charge of the national side last June, or even come to one of his team´s games.

Said Igesund: "I strongly believe we should have a closer bond with the Bafana coach. We are in this together and want our country to do well."

But Igesund remains positive and said Santana was on the right track: "We are getting better with every game, but we need a targetman to be identified within six months and we would be raring to go for the
World Cup next year."

Igesund added that playing in freezing Switzerland after beating Norway in blazing Rustenburg heat, was also a factor against Bafana.

But he added: "I thought overall we did enough to see some light at the end of the tunnel."

* Article courtesy of SAPA