The Bafana coach left for Europe last night for meetings with coaches whose clubs have South African players on their books. He hopes to establish a relationship with the managers to negotiate possible early player releases ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations finals, starting on January 19.
Yesterday, announcing his squad to play Zambia in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Soccer City on November 14, Igesund confirmed he would meet Pienaar to discuss his retirement from international soccer.
“The door is still open for all players,” he said. “I need a one-on-one meeting with Steven over a cup of coffee. Steven has served the country with aplomb for a solid 10 years. I’m going to talk to him about why he has retired from international soccer.
“We should not turn our backs on him. He should also not turn his back on the country. Who knows where the conversation goes.”
Pienaar announced his retirement in August, saying he was not getting any younger and wanted to focus on club football with Everton. At that time speculation was rife that he was unhappy that Igesund was about to drop him as captain in favour of Morgan Gould.
For the match against Zambia, Igesund has roped in the in-form Katlego Mashego and Thuso Phala. Goalkeeper Darren Keet and striker Kermit Erasmus earned a recall. He is keeping a close eye on 20-year-old Lokeren star Ayanda Patosi.
The squad for the game against Zambia:
GOALKEEPERS – Itumeleng Khune, Darren Keet.
DEFENDERS – Bevan Fransman, Thabo Nthethe, Siyabonga Sangweni, Anele Ngcongca, Punch Masenamela, Bongani Khumalo (captain), Ricardo Nunes.
MIDFIELDERS – Oupa Manyisa, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Sifiso Myeni, Thanduyise Khuboni, Teko Modise, Delron Buckley, Lerato Chabangu, Thuso Phala, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Dean Furman.
FORWARDS – Bernard Parker, Mashego, Tokelo Rantie and Erasmus.
Meanwhile, the Telkom semifinal draw was conducted yesterday at PSL offices.
Tshwane derby, SuperSport United vs Sundowns on November 18, and Celtic’s vs Free State Stars in another Free State derby on 19.
Venues to be confirmed later.