Thulani Serero and Gordon Igesund will be reunited when Bafana Bafana take on Brazil on March 5 (FNB Stadium, kick-off 7pm), with the player looking like he has a far brighter international future than his coach.
Igesund said yesterday that he and Serero had long since healed their differences, as he gave the Ajax Amsterdam midfielder his first call-up since kicking him out of the Bafana camp before South Africa’s last World Cup qualifier against Botswana in September.
“I have spoken to him a couple of times before, the issue was sorted out months ago,” said Igesund.
“He’s excited to be called up and excited to be here.”
The Bafana coach was less revealing about his own future, with the SA Football Association seemingly giving him a stay of execution, saying he will be in charge of Bafana until his contract expires at the end of July.
Safa has launched an investigation into allegations that Igesund advised some of his players to demand bonuses at the recent African Nations Championship, where South Africa flopped out in the group stages.
At the announcement of the squad for the Brazil game, the media were barred from asking Igesund about the matter. He did, however, say he was not thinking about what could happen beyond the end of his contract, or whether the game against Brazil would have any effect on a possible extension.
“I can’t be too concerned whether this game means this or that,” he said.
“It has been stated very clearly that my contract runs until August, and I’m not looking beyond that.
“We have to be positive and go out and try to win our next game, enjoy it, and whatever happens on the day, happens. But I don’t think anyone’s future can depend on it.”
It would certainly be harsh to judge Igesund on a game against a Brazil team full of global footballing stars, warming up for the World Cup this year on home soil.
Having said that, Bafana did manage to beat world champions Spain in a friendly last November, and only narrowly lost to Brazil in Igesund’s first game in charge in September 2012 in Sao Paulo.
“It wasn’t an accident we beat them (Spain),” said Igesund. “We performed on the day very well, so there is no reason we can’t go out there (and beat Brazil).
“We will try to be offensive, as we were against Spain. It is Brazil’s second-last friendly before the World Cup and I’m sure they want a tough game.”
He added: “I see this game as a great privilege… we played Brazil in Brazil, and were treated well, and we are happy we can invite them back.”
Igesund’s squad is very similar to the one which beat Spain, with one or two exceptions.
Bafana squad for March 5:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Ronwen Williams.
Defenders: Thabo Nthethe, Bongani Khumalo, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Siyanda Xulu, Anele Ngcongca, Thato Mokeke, Thabo Matlaba.
Midfielders: Dean Furman, Kagiso Dikgacoi, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Daylon Claasen, Thulani Serero, Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa, Ayanda Patosi, Bongani Zungu, Lindokuhle Mbatha.
Strikers: Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, Dino Ndlovu