Can learner beat teacher?
Bafana coach Igesund comes up against former charge Mannetti
TODAY’S Cosafa Cup quarter-final between South Africa and Namibia is being billed as a clash of teacher and the student.
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund is coming up against one of his former players in the “Brave Warriors” coach Ricardo Mannetti.
The two won the league together at Santos in 2002, but this afternoon at the Nkoloma Stadium (kick-off 3.30pm) they will face off for a place in the tournament’s semi-finals.
“It feels funny to sit next to my former coach. I never wanted to coach, but here I am today,” Mannetti said yesterday.
“But this is not about us. It’s about Namibia versus South Africa, and everybody knows the history.”
This will certainly add extra spice to the clash, as Namibia are always keen to put over their more illustrious neighbours.
And this could be the Brave Warriors’ best chance in years, when they take on an under- strength Bafana side, whose preparations have hardly been ideal.
The Namibians have been together for a while, and have been in excellent form in this tournament. They have also played twice at today’s match venue, and are familiar with the slightly bumpy and heavy-looking pitch.
They are also enjoying massive support from the locals, who have embraced the Brave Warriors as their second team in the tournament. But Mannetti was reluctant to accept the favourites tag, although he did admit they are probably better prepared than Bafana, who had plenty of problems with player withdrawals over the past few weeks.
“I don’t like the word understrength, especially when it comes to South Africa,” Mannetti said.
“I think the teams are basically on the same level for Cosafa. We have an edge, because we feel at home and we have played two matches here.
“I don’t believe we are favourites, but we want to give a good account of ourselves. We want to win this tournament, but we are facing a good team in South Africa.
“My coach (Igesund) will also make it difficult for us, but we are also going to make it difficult for them as well.”
The Namibia coach added they would have prepared in the same way for the game, even if the likes of Kaizer Chiefs stars Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala were in the line-up to face them this afternoon.
“Obviously something people don’t know is that we also have a youthful team,” he said.
“For us, we were prepared for Equatorial Guinea (who withdrew from the tournament) and the group games.
“Whether South Africa had Shaba and Yeye in the team or not, we will still play with same venom and aggression.”
Igesund’s team had their second training session at the Nkoloma Stadium yesterday, and some of the players complained that it was heavy underfoot and bumpy.
But it wasn’t as bad as the Woodlands Stadium, where they had their first session on Thursday.
Igesund says he is happy with his preparations for the clash, and is looking forward to his watch his youngsters perform in such a pressurised environment.
“It’s been difficult for us, because of the many changes to the team.
“But we understand, it isn’t a Fifa weekend and the clubs have the right to withdraw their players,” the Bafana coach said.
“But this is a great opportunity for many of the young players in the team. We have made the mistake in South Africa of not developing our players properly, and maybe such a tournament can help the players
“We have had a good start, and we have had two good training sessions. We are looking forward to the match, and we want to do well in this tournament,” Igesund added.
STUDENT: Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti played under Igesund.