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Tovey backs Igesund as Bafana coach

Former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey believes the coach should continue in his role.

Neil Tovey led Bafana Bafana to victory at the 1996 African Cup of Nations. Picture: Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG - Former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey has called on the South African Football Association (Safa) to stick with Gordon Igesund as Bafana Bafana head coach.

Igesund's contract as coach of the national team is due to expire at the end of July, and reports suggest that other coaches have already been approached to take over the position should Safa decide not to retain the coach.

Igesund will meet with a Safa committee to discover his fate on Monday afternoon.

Tovey, who lead Bafana to glory at the 1996 African Cup of Nations, says the only way Bafana can become successful again is if they continue with Igesund in charge.

"I'm not one for constant change. One just has to look at the history of Bafana Bafana and where we've gone over the last little while, to know that we've had too many coaches. There is always going to be this debate whether Gordon has done the job required or not, but for me, for a coach to do the job, you need a proper period of time to get used to the association."

The former Kaizer Chiefs defender added that if Safa decided not to extend Igesund's contract, they should not hire a foreign coach.

Citing the example of Pitso Mosimane - who led Sundowns to their first league title in seven years - Tovey says a number of coaches in South Africa are good enough to lead the national team.

"There's talk of (Carlos) Queiroz, who's a very good coach. But for me, you just have to look at Mamelodi Sundowns, who looked across the borders to foreign coaches for many years and never achieved anything. Suddenly, they get a homegrown coach and he wins the league again. We've got capable coaches in this country."

The 52-year-old Tovey believes the lack of proper development structures and game time for the junior teams is hindering Bafana Bafana, especially when it comes to games against African opposition.

"Whilst we're not achieving at the top, we have to look at what we're doing with our Under 17 national team and our Under 20 national team. There's not enough activity there, and those players aren't playing in Africa enough. They need to get used to conditions away from home, so when they grow up, they don't come into those conditions blind."

Tovey thinks the problem of inexperience in African conditions can be solved by getting former Bafana Bafana players involved in the coaching setup across the various national teams.

"We have good enough players to achieve. We just need to make them aware of how it is to play for the national team. I believe there is still an opportunity to get former players that have been there and done it, telling them how vital it is to play for your country."