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Bafana Bafana coach says trip is not necessary at this stage

Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund will likely not be headed back to Europe ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations as he had originally planned.

Igesund was hoping to go and see the clubs of various players based in Greece, Belgium and Holland to negotiate their early release for South Africa ahead of the tournament.

The coach is hoping to have all his players in camp by January 1 to give him a full 18 days of build-up before they play their opener against Cape Verde on January 19 at Soccer City.

But injuries to the likes of Daylon Claasen and Thulani Serero, as well as a change in thinking over selection means he might not need to make the trip in any event.

“I am in constant contact with the players and their coaches, so the need for me to go there at the moment does not exist,” Igesund says. “Guys like Claasen and Serero are coming back from injuries and we need to find out first if they will be fit to play in the tournament before I travel to Europe to negotiate with their clubs.

“It would be a wasted exercise for me to go there and we then find out they will not be available. So for the moment there are no trips planned, but we will see how things develop. I talk to the guys all the time and I know exactly how they are doing.”

Igesund and his assistant coach, Serame Letsoaka, were in England earlier this month to speak to various players and their clubs about their release for the continental showpiece.

The trip was a success, with Dean Furman and Kagisho Dikgacoi of Oldham Athletic and Crystal Palace respectively being given permission by their clubs to report for camp for the competition early in the New Year.

Bafana will also hold a pre-Christmas camp in Durban from December 21-24, where they hope to play a friendly international on December 22 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The details of who that opponent will be is still being finalised.      

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