Gordon Igesund named Bafana Bafana coach

By Mohlomi Maubane | July 3rd, 2012 12 Comments

It’s official: Gordon Igesund is the new Bafana Bafana coach. The well-travelled Durbanite was the outright favourite for the job, and his appointment is the climax of what has been a remarkable coaching career.

Igesund’s first coaching job was in 1985 as a player-coach for Witbank Aces. For the next 11 years, he mainly coached modest teams battling to avoid relegation, sometimes unsuccessfully. In 1992 he won the NSL Second Division title with D’Alberton Callies, but his rise to prominence began in 1996-97 when he guided Durban’s Manning Rangers to the inaugural PSL title. More league honors followed at Orlando Pirates (2001-02), Santos (2001-02), and Sundowns (2006-07), which made Igesund the only coach to annex the championship with four different PSL clubs.

His appointment as the national team coach on a two-year contract comes on the back of an impressive stint at the helm of Moroka Swallows. The fabled Soweto team sent Igesund an SOS eighteen months ago when they found themselves at the bottom of the table nearly halfway through the season. Igesund masterminded The Dube Birds’ great escape, and this season they had an astonishing year, finishing an agonising second to Orlando Pirates.

It is Igesund’s heroics at Moroka Swallows that SAFA expect him to emulate with beleaguered Bafana Bafana, currently ranked 68th in FIFA’s world rankings. South Africa’s qualification bid for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is in serious jeopardy after draws against Ethiopia and Botswana. While South Africa’s hosting of the next edition of the African Nations Cup guarantees Bafana Bafana’s participation, there is well-founded anxiety in the country over the threat of an uninspiring showing in the tournament.

“The bigger picture is the 2013 AFCON and qualifying us for Brazil 2014,”declared SAFA President, Kirsten Nematandani, at Igesund’s unveiling. It’s the same brief former Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane was given two years ago. As SAFA made abundantly clear to Igesund, should the national team fail to reach the semi-finals of the African Nations Cup next year, then he will join Mosimane on the growing list of former Bafana coaches, which now stands at eighteen.

Igesund’s pedigree gives many South Africans hope that, despite recent results, he is indeed the manager who can lead Bafana to the continental crown and to the World Cup in Brazil. He is a wily old fox who has paid his dues in the trenches. He knows how to nurture self-belief and instil a desire to win into any team under his tutelage, regardless of available talent and financial resources. We wish him good luck in his new position.

There is a problem, however, that Igesund cannot solve even if he ends up meeting his new employers’ lofty objectives. That is, SAFA’s understanding of the “bigger picture” in domestic football is confined to four-year cycles for the men’s senior national team (or in this case a two-year cycle). But local football needs sound management, serious youth development for boys and girls, better coaches’ training, and infrastructural improvements at the grassroots. In other words, the goals SAFA has set for Igesund are no more than an attempt at a quick-fix solution.

SAFA would have done better to concede their administrative shortcomings, apologize for the dismal state of football in the country, and state that Igesund is the best bet for turning hapless Bafana Bafana into a winning team. Instead, SAFA hired the country’s most decorated coach and required him to take one of the least feared teams in Africa to the semi-finals of the continent’s premier tournament and then to the World Cup. While there is no question of Igesund’s success as a club coach, it would not be surprising if, after the 2013 African Nations Cup, he were to become the 19th Bafana coach in 20 years.




July 3rd, 2012 | 11:40 am    

Good read! Observations are spot on. I just hope the Bafana start believing and can find it in themselves that they can be the heros we all need them to be instead of pretending and acting like super stars. They are small guys but Spain proved you don’t need size to slaughter giants.

I do not know if 18 is a lucky number – but hey, it would be great if it is.
all the best!


July 3rd, 2012 | 12:07 pm    

Couldn’t have put it better myself. Well decorated Club coach but for internatinal experience we all have to wait and see. The only thing I’m looking forward to is the wing play which we have been lacking for a while. Previous league winners have played from the wings(pirates, supersport) and we have deserted this at national level opting for Tshabalala who confuses everyone in the middle of the park. Don’t get me wrong I’m a Khosi for life but I long for the days of Mkhelele who hugged the touchline as if there was no tomorrow before curling those telling crosses into the box.


July 3rd, 2012 | 1:45 pm    

Well written Baba, Bafana also lacks the fighting spirit. Jus hope Gordon will motivate them to wear that jersey with pride.


July 4th, 2012 | 3:32 am    

This makes some interesting read. No doubt, Gordon Igesund is good enough to couch the national team. Good decision taken by SAFA. He has love for the game of football -too much pressure though


July 4th, 2012 | 8:07 am    

Ja,there was a time when Bafana’s consistent losing streaks were blamed on size.Strange enough this came from pundits who knew of Okocha,E’To,Maradona and Baresi.Tshabalala has talent but he only shines in patches.He wins player of the year awards at underachieving Kaizer Chiefs but in the PSL the likes of Serero,Jali,Modise,Nsimbi Sangweni and Hosi ya mina Mathebula outshine him.Igesund does have international experience,as a player he hogged touchlines in Austria and Germany.He also coached Manning Rangers in the African Champions League.The guy has also coached Pirates and Sundwons and coaching these teams gives one an ability to tame a black mamba.SAFA must look away and let him do his thing.


July 4th, 2012 | 11:56 am    


Looking ahead to when SAFA fires Igesund after Bafana bomb at AFCON 2013: maybe Gordon could take over Banyana? That’s if the women do poorly in the upcoming Olympic tournament, of course. By the way, is there any popular and media interest in the women’s team ahead of London 2012? Would be interested to know your view from Mzansi.


July 4th, 2012 | 12:26 pm    

Kickoff has great coverage on Banyana in the latest edition.Otherwise there is not much coverage.Silly season is dominating football coverage.

Eric Moda

July 7th, 2012 | 11:17 am    

Gordon Igesund know exactly what he is doing, succeed or fail, it won’t make much of a difference to him. http://bit.ly/N4oWkq

Got to agree with Peter’s comment.


July 7th, 2012 | 12:04 pm    

It has come to my attention that SAFA has asked Bafana to reach a stage of AFCON they last reached in 2000.Also,there are three friendly games before AFCON 2O13 and Bafana can easily get knocked out in the 1st round.That means Igesunds’ Bafana tenure could last three official matches.They hired the wrong guy.SAFA being SAFA, I suspect they dialled Igesund’s number by mistake when they were trying to call David Copperfield.


July 8th, 2012 | 5:57 am    

Check out Zapiro cartoon about Igesund:
“Congratulations and Condolences”

Fitmind Lightbody

July 19th, 2012 | 12:33 am    

Eish. Nice piece Gwegstarr. I really was set on Shakes. Its quite a jump for Gordon. I feel. Nice mix on the bench. Offsets not having shakes somewhat. The one knows the political corridors, one an assistant that knows his place. Leaving Gordon to coach one-man.


August 3rd, 2012 | 3:13 pm    

Nice and informative reading AS USUAL I must add! Let’s wait and see what happens! I was amused and suprised by Slee’s comments! Spot on I should also say I almost was not sure it’s him until KHOSI for life! Halala

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