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Igesund turns to legends for help

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By Carl Peters

Cape Town – Bafana Bafana legends Clive Barker and Neil Tovey are set to be part of Gordon Igesund’s battle plan for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

The national coach, who is normally seen as a lone ranger but now needs all the support he can get to meet the South African Football Association’s demand of a semi-final place, says he has spoken to Barker and Tovey about doing scouting work for him to improve Bafana’s victory hopes on home soil.

He claims this is part of an extensive plan to know everything possible about the opposition in the continental showpiece, which runs from January 19 to February 10, and one idea is to send former Bafana skipper Tovey to watch Morocco in action before the tournament gets going.

Igesund says he also plans to use former Bafana coaches Jomo Sono and Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba for information gathering, and this move will bolster the hard work he plans to do with his final 23-man squad from January 2 onwards.

“We have a hectic programme and really need to get into gear,” said Igesund, who has lined up warm-up matches against Malawi in Durban on December 22, Norway in Cape Town on January 8 and Algeria on January 12 in Soweto.

“Yes, we are going to do scouting. I have spoken to Neil and Clive already and plan to use others as well, including Jomo and Shakes. We need to use all the expertise we can find.

“We will also be using Amisco to know more about our opponents, Cape Verde, Morocco and Angola, before we play them. We are going to make sure we know everything we need to know. We already have plenty of videos and DVDs of them in action.”

Barker, Bafana’s most successful coach to date, said he would be delighted to assist the national cause again and was going to have a meeting with Igesund in Durban next week to finalise his role.

“Always happy to help where I can. I was actually due to meet with Gordon after he named his squad for the match against Malawi in Durban on Tuesday, but then he ran out of time. We will now meet when he comes back to Durban for that match on the 20th,” said Barker.

“ We had a similar operation in place for the 1996 Nations’ Cup and it was very successful.” We had people like Mike Makaab and Budgie Byrne stationed in different areas and filing information to a central point for our planning.”

Tovey, Barker’s captain in the 1996 tourney, said he was also very willing to lend assistance and is waiting for Igesund to iron out plans with him.

“I would be happy to do it, but I might be unavailable for the first two weeks of January to go and watch Morocco or anybody else play, because I will be busy with that Castle Lager Superstars development project, which has been going quite well,” he said.

Tovey’s old Bafana teammates Philemon Masinga and John Moshoeu have also been involved in that scheme, which started with Sono giving tips from his famous history on how to scout players. – Cape Times

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