Igesund: The 'best' man for the Bafana job

Safa says despite Gordon Igesund not reaching its mandate, he is the best man to coach Bafana.

Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund is seen at a training session at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on 11 January 2013. Picture: SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Following Bafana Bafana's exit at the quarterfinal stage of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Saturday, many fans wondered if it would be the end of the road for coach Gordon Igesund.

Upon being appointed, Igesund was given a mandate to get the side to at least the semifinals of the continental tournament, and to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

But on Saturday, Bafana crashed out of Afcon, losing 3-1 to Mali in a penalty shootout at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The match went into extra-time after both sides ended 1-1 in regulation time.

Kirsten Nematandani, president of the South African Football Association (Safa), explained on Monday that the mandate was not as cut and dry as many thought and said for now, Igesund was the right man for the job.

"It's a fact that he did not reach the semifinal as the target [was set], but we have always indicated that there are two targets - there's Afcon and of course the World Cup qualifiers.

"As you know, Gordon came in probably six months before this tournament.

"Surely targets have to be there, and surely we also need to apply our minds going forward.

"[Igesund] is the best coach we have in the country."

Nematandani believes that in order to build a strong national side, one should not change the coach too often.

"Ideally, you should never keep a coach less than four years going according to the World Cup circles, because that is the aim. In actual sense, we should be talking 2018 as the target for Gordon."

Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula yesterday also came out in favour of the coach.

He believes Igesund got invaluable experience during the tournament, which he said would help him qualify for Brazil.

"I suppose the coach would have seen from this tournament, which would have assisted him a great deal, which departments in the national team require strengthening.

"This Afcon would have been a revelation for Gordon Igesund to build a national team with a foresight of dominating in the African continent."

Mbalula added that Igesund was fortunate to have been given an opportunity to understand the players ahead of a big tournament before the World Cup.

He said for people to, at this stage, say Gordon must be fired was "childish".

"To then say 'no, the coach must go' would not only be unscientific; it would be childish because it means you will not build anything."