By Ernest Makhaya
Orlando Pirates PRO Mickey Modisane has told Goal that they were shocked to learn that six of their players were included in the Bafana squad that will face Nigeria in the Nelson Mandela Challenge on August 14.
Senzo Meyiwa, Thabo Matlaba, Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa, Daine Klate and Thandani Ntshumayelo have all been selected for the fixture, but they will be allowed to return to their club immediately after the Nigeria game.
“As you would know that we only came back from Egypt on Tuesday morning and we were never aware that our players will be included in the Bafana squad,” Modisane told Goal.
Modisane said the club’s priority at the moment is the Caf Champions League, as they have spent a lot of time preparing for the group stages.
“As it stands Caf Champions League football is our priority and other domestic games or national team games come second.
“The dates of the Champions League were set before the end of last season and for that reason, we came back early for our pre-season training. This shows how important the Champions League football is to us as Pirates,” said Modisane.
Igesund had on Tuesday, revealed that all the Pirates players including three overseas-based players will be released after the Bafana-Nigeria clash, but Modisane said the technical will need more time with the players to prepare for their Zamalek game.
“The technical team and the players will need to be afforded enough time to prepare for our Zamalek game on August 17.
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“I am sure the national team coach [Gordon Igesund] understands that, because we are not only representing ourselves, but the entire nation. Hence, our participation in the Champions League deserves recognition,” added Modisane.
However, Modisane confirms that there hasn’t been any formal request made to the South African football association or the national team coach regarding the withdrawal of the players, but he believes the Pirates administrators will do a necessary follow up to the matter.
“We have not made any formal statement or request to withdraw the players, because we only came back on Tuesday morning and the announcement was made ealier, but I am sure my colleagues in the office will deal with it in a correct manner,” he concluded.
Nonetheless, Gordon Igesund is at no fault to call the Pirates players, because it is within his rights to selected any of the players he wants in his team for the Nigeria game, as the fixture falls within the Fifa calendar.
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