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Sat Apr 19 01:16:46 SAST 2014

Igesund wants to see some passion

MARC STRYDOM | 09 October, 2012 06:070 Comments
Thirty-four-year-old Maritzburg United forward Delron Buckley goes through his paces during a Bafana Bafana training session at the Bedfordview Gym, east of Johannesburg, on Monday. Buckley is one of 30 players coach Gordon Igesund has selected to take part in two international friendlies, against Poland in Warsaw and Kenya in Nairobi, on this Friday and Tuesday of next week respectively. His call-up was a big surprise, not least to himself

BAFANA Bafana coach Gordon Igesund wants to see the players he has selected for international friendlies against Poland and Kenya show commitment and passion before they can form part of his core squad that will feature in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Igesund has called up more than 30 players in his first two squads ahead of the Afcon tournament on home soil in January.

The coach has been given a mandate to at least reach the semifinals.

Igesund said he was looking for players willing "to run through walls" when Bafana meet Poland in Warsaw on Friday and Kenya in Nairobi on Tuesday next week.

"I want to see that when they put that jersey on," he said.

"They're going to fight out there, they're going to tackle, they're going to play to win. The beautiful football and keeping the ball - that's going to come only after I get the team for a period of time. Right now, I want to see passion and that the players give everything they've got."

Igesund said he was not expecting late injury withdrawals as he did in his first two friendly internationals - in last month's 1-0 defeat by Brazil in Sao Paulo and the 2-0 win over Mozambique in Nelspruit.

The coach expects a tough test from 54th-ranked Poland. That is why he is likely to field a stronger squad in Warsaw than against the 128th-ranked Kenyans.

"Poland have three players playing for Borussia Dortmund, a couple at Bayern Munich, and players at Arsenal. So it's going to be a very tough test for us," he said.

"I think there's 30-odd players I've had a look at and the next squad I pick is going to have the core that's going to the Afcon."

One man as surprised as everyone to be making the trip to Warsaw and Nairobi is Delron Buckley.

The 34-year-old forward returned from his 18-year stintin Europe to sign for Absa Premiership campaigners Maritzburg United during the off-season.

He had not been called up for Bafana since June 2008.

Buckley's good form has helped steer Maritzburg to fifth place in the league.

"I came back with the intention just to finish off my football career.

"I've done well for Maritzburg and been in top form in the past six games, but the call-up was a big surprise," Buckley admitted.

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