Can learner beat teacher?

Bafana coach Ige­sund comes up against for­mer charge Man­netti

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - JOHN GO­LIATH

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.

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