Gordon Igesund is in a race against time to get his SuperSport United team to perform this season after a lacklustre display from Matsatsantsa on Tuesday night against Bidvest Wits. The loss to the Cleber Boys means Igesund has won just one of his opening five league fixtures this season, and finds himself on the the back foot. His chairman Khulu Sibiya said on Metro FM on Thursday that he can’t remember the last time he won the league, which is a ‘problem’ for him.
He also said he has given the coach everything he needs, which includes getting a couple of talented players from New Zealand, former Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo, and their marquee signing Dean Furman. On paper, his bunch should be one of the front runners to challenge for the title, but have yet to show any signs of that. However the coach says he’s not worried about what the chairman said: ‘It’s still early days. I don’t want to talk about that. I’m not worried about that at the moment. What I’m worried about is to get this team going. We’ve got to start winning games.’
The former Bafana mentor comes highly recommended and with the title of having won four league trophies with four different teams, the most by any coach. It is therefore understandable why the SuperSport bosses would expect a lot from him. He knows exactly what it is going to take for him to win the league, and says he’s not too far from where he would have wanted to be at this stage: ‘We’re only about four points from where I would have liked to be. So it makes things a bit difficult. But it’s still early days. It’s a tough league and you can’t always have a flying start.’
Igesund was one of the busiest coaches in the previous transfer window, and having had a full pre-season with the team this time around, it was expected that he would have forged some understanding among the players already. He says: ‘It’s not only us who’ve bought players. I have to get them in a groove, get them into a unit. You can’t just do that in five games. It takes time. But it’s a ruthless game, sometimes you don’t have time.’ The one thing he is right about is that sometimes as a coach you just don’t have time. There has already been rumours that a certain Stuart Baxter could be on the cards for a few big clubs in South Africa.
The Brit won two league titles in three seasons in his time here, and since his axing in Turkey, might just be tempted by a PSL return. SuperSport will face a high flying Platinum Stars at home this coming weekend, and will be desperate for maximum points, ironically coached by the very man from whom Igesund took over, Cavin Johnson. By this time last year, it was Johnson in the same shoes as his successor, and was shown the door. The Pretoria side will be happy to see the Telkom Knockout on the horizon, a tournament they won with Igesund just weeks at the helm.
Successfully defending this trophy might go a long way in buying him some time to get his house in order, but should his league campaign continue this way, he might just be condemned to unemployment sooner than he expected.