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Sun Apr 20 08:23:47 SAST 2014

Igesund icy to Poland

MAZOLA MOLEFE | 13 September, 2012 07:010 Comments
International Match: South Africa v Mozambique
Gordon Igesund during the international friendly between South Africa and Mozambique at Mbombela Stadium on September 11, 2012 in Nelspruit, South Africa
Image by: Manus van Dyk / Gallo Images

BAFANA Bafana's trip to Poland next month is one coach Gordon Igesund would have traded for African opposition.

But the visit to Bydgoszcz, where South Africa will play the White Eagles on October 12, was arranged before Igesund was appointed as Bafana's coach.

Igesund revealed his feelings about the team's next game after South Africa's 2-0 win against Mozambique on Tuesday night in Nelspruit.

The coach wants a challenge closer to home to measure his team against Africa's finest as he prepares for next year's Nations Cup, where Bafana have a mandate to reach "at least the semifinals".

There will be no reneging on the Poland fixture, but Igesund made it clear that he would have preferred that Bafana play a friendly against either Ghana or Nigeria.

"The Poland match was arranged long before I arrived and it's not really an ideal opposition. I'd like to play the African teams, closer to the teams we will be facing in the Nations Cup," Igesund said.

For a match he would gladly pass on to a development team if he could, Igesund will have to again assemble a squad in the first week of October for only his third game at the helm.

"The Poland game is there, the commitment has been made. But we will wait for the [Nations Cup] draw and approach teams that aren't in our group to try play one or two friendly games," the coach said.

The draw to determine the groups for the Nations Cup is scheduled for October 26 in Durban.

Poland are more a distraction for Igesund, who wants to get down and dirty in assessing his team's capability for the Nations Cup.

"Playing a team like Zambia, Ghana or Nigeria is very different compared to Poland.

"I can't give out dates right now, but Safa are working hard to get African opposition as practice for the Nations Cup," Igesund said.

Zambia, the continental champions, have accepted an invitation from Safa to face Bafana in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge in November.

Before then, Igesund will use the clash against Poland to keep introducing new faces to the team, as seen with Dean Furman and Dino Ndlovu, who did not finish the match against Brazil after dislocating a shoulder.

"I've got two players who were born in South Africa and are playing in Europe.

" I can't reveal their names yet, but they have agreed to play for Bafana, and I will be looking to call those guys up just to have a look," the coach said.

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