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Gordon Igesund says the duo had a wealth of experience that could have been of help to his young squad, describing their decision to retire from duty as a blow for Bafana Bafana

South Africa head coach Gordon Igesund admits the retirement of veteran striker Benni McCarthy and midfielder Steven Pienaar from international football is a big blow.

Igesund believes the duo had a wealth of experience earned over decade-long careers that could have been of help to his young squad.

“Benni and Steven's retirement is a massive blow to the team," he told reporters.

"These are players who have successfully participated at the top level for a long period and their experience is unrivalled. I am sad to lose them.

“As a coach I would have loved to have them in my squad but I respect the decision they made as it will give other youngsters an opportunity to emerge.”

Igesund also revealed he will use Tuesday night’s friendly to begin the process of building a team for the future.

“This friendly is very important to us," he added. "We are not only using it to improve on our Fifa rankings but to build a team for the future because we will be hosting the Nations Cup finals.”

Finally, the Bafana Bafana coach raised issues with the state of the playing surface at Nyayo Stadium, saying it needed repairs before the match.

“Our only concern so far is the state of the playing ground which is not good," he warned.

"I almost lost one of my players who twisted his ankle due to the several holes in the pitch, especially around the goal areas.

"We are hoping the local federation will work on the surface by filling them with sand before Tuesday.”

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