Bafana coach Igesund begins UK trip hoping to foster relationships

Gordon Igesund has begun his trip to the United Kingdom, hoping to foster relationships with club managers to smooth the release of players for the national side

Igesund is hoping to meet the likes of Kagisho Dikgacoi’s boss at Crystal Palace, Ian Holloway, Paul Dickov at Oldham Athletic where Dean Furman turns out and Leeds United boss Neil Warnock, who has Davide Somma in his squad.

Igesund maintains that the meetings are to work together for mutual benefit, opening discussions over the release, or not, of players for matches in the future.

But he is hopeful of persuading the UK managers to release their players early for international duty ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, before Christmas if possible.

It is unlikely that he will get his way, Furman and Dikgacoi in particular are crucial components of their sides and the managers will be loath to lose them for the Nations Cup at all, let alone a further three or four weeks.

But Igesund has taken a ‘don’t ask, don’t get policy’, and will also be using the opportunity to speak to Steven Pienaar and Andrew Surman about turning out for the national side at the Nations Cup, though he maintains that is not his main mission.

“I need to be clear about why I am going to the UK,” Igesund says. “It is about creating relationships with the managers of the players who are based there and seeing how we can help each other in the future.

“I will also be going to other countries in Europe with the same agenda, to try and create an environment whereby I have dialogue with the managers and we can properly plot which players we select when.

“I said from the last squad announcement press conference that I would like to sit down and have a cup of coffee with Steven Pienaar and hear his reasons why he retired. I will also be speaking to Surman.”

Igesund will spend this week in the UK, returning to South Africa on Saturday morning. His players go into camp on Sunday for the Nelson Mandela Challenge match with Zambia on November 14.