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SA’s Igesund keeps it short, but not sweet

16 January 2013
Marc Strydom

GORDON Igesund’s relationship with the national soccer media reached an all-time low at a 3½ minute press conference yesterday when the coach answered most of his questions with terse one-liners.

Five days before his team kick off their Africa Cup of Nations against Cape Verde at Soccer City, the coach appeared to be reacting to criticism his team had received in the past months, especially after a 1-0 defeat against Norway last week and Saturday night’s 0-0 draw against Algeria.

Part of the transcript of the latter stages of the conference, after Igesund had answered two questions on the team meeting President Jacob Zuma yesterday, is revealed:

Q: The president expressed confidence that the team is ready – are you ready?

A: Yes we are.

Q: When you break down our group we face a team that has nothing to lose [Cape Verde], a team whose coach has been told he will be safe no matter the result [Angola] and a team whose coach is building for the Afcon in 2015 [Morocco]. How will Bafana Bafana deal with the pressure given they are the one team expected to produce results now?

A: As I said before, I think I said it a minute ago, the team is ready for the Afcon.

It seemed a reaction from the coach, especially a 56-year-old one with a world of experience, that was, frankly, immature.

The conference lasted just 3½ minutes – normally such briefings last 10 to 15 minutes.

It followed a post-match press conference after the Algeria game where Igesund was notably defensive. At Monday’s training, he did not want to make players available to be interviewed by the waiting reporters and had to be convinced to do so by media manager Matlhomola Morake.

He is under pressure but will not make matters any better with this confrontational approach.

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 SHARPENING SKILLS: Mali team members Sambou Yatabare (left) and Chieck Diarra (right) in training at the Westbourne Oval  Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

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