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Igesund: One could see South Africa were not a team against France

11:07 WAT 30/03/2022
Gordon Igesund, Bafana Bafana, 2013
When speaking exclusively to GOAL, the four-time PSL title-winning mentor weighed in on the national team's performance against Les Bleus

Ex-South Africa head coach Gordon Igesund explained the result of Bafana Bafana's match against France was not important, but he admitted that they didn't look like a team.

The Southern African giants were thumped 5-0 by a dominant Les Bleus side in a one-sided international friendly match that took place at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve d'Ascq on Tuesday night.

"It is important to understand that when you play such matches they are called friendlies for a reason. They are meant to give a coach an opportunity to try out new things and look at some of the players," Igesund told GOAL.

"I don't think Bafana played particularly well, but you could expect that to happen because he was trying out different combinations and having a look at them.

"I do know that right now he [Hugo Broos] knows a bit more about that group of players than he knew before the game started."

It was Broos' second defeat since he was appointed Bafana head coach in May last year and the Belgian tactician was using the game as part of preparations for the upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Having been in charge of the Bafana side which lost 5-0 to five-time world champions Brazil in a friendly game in March 2014, Igesund stressed that such games are merely used to test player readiness.

"Friendly matches are there to be lost, I remember when I was coaching Bafana I only lost two official matches. I played a lot of friendly matches and I used a lot of youngsters," the former Orlando Pirates coach continued.

"I looked at them and tried them out, looked at how they would perform [in official matches]. And how far they were from being ready. So, look Bafana didn't play very well, but you would expect that."

Ronwen Williams, who was handed his international debut for Bafana by Igesund in the 5-0 defeat to Brazil, was arguably South Africa's best player against France. However, Igesund refused to single out individuals who played well against reigning world champions.

"I don't want to pick out players individually, but one or two had a fairly decent display. However, it was pretty difficult for all of them. I don't want to pick out individuals. They tried to play together," the Durban-born tactician added.

"You could see that they were not a team out there, trying to learn, but the exercise was really for the coach to have a look and see where he is with this group of players. That is what the exercise was about."

The 64-year-old, who guided South Africa to the 2012 Afcon quarter-finals, feels that there is still a lot of work to be done by Broos and his technical team with the 2023 qualifiers set to start in June this year.

"Well, I think there is a lot of work to be done. I think there were a lot of players who were not there. Let us hope that by the time he gets it all right and that is why he has to play such friendly games.

"You should give him credit that he chose to play a friendly game against the world champions. It was always going to be difficult. You have to test your players against top-quality players."