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Ex-Bafana coach Igesund returns to Highlands Park after 37 years

By Marc Strydom | Oct 18, 2016 | COMMENTS [ 7 ]

Gordon Igesund is not just back in the Premier Soccer League‚ where he has had a varied‚ mostly highly successful‚ and colourful coaching career – he has also returned home to Highlands Park‚ 37 years later.

Former Bafana Bafana coach Igesund – the four-time league title winner at Manning Rangers‚ Orlando Pirates‚ Santos and Mamelodi Sundowns – was installed as coach of newly-promoted Highlands to replace Allan Freese on Monday.

He joins the one-time Kaizer Chiefs of white South African football – who have made their return to the top-flight after a more-than two-decade absence – where Igesund‚ in the 1970s‚ made his name as one of the star-studded club’s greatest midfielders.

Igesund on Tuesday rattled off the names he lined up alongside at the old Highlands‚ which became defunct after being sold to Jomo Sono who then formed Jomo Cosmos.

Igesund reminisced on his last game for Highlands before leaving to play in the Austrian Bundesliga.

“It was in the Mainstay Cup final against Kaizer Chiefs in 1979 – the score was 3-3‚" he said.

"Andy Stanton headed in from a corner in the 90th minute to make it 4-3 and the goal was over-ruled‚ so there was a replay.

“[Park coach] Joe Frickleton was so angry he said‚ ‘Fine‚ we’ll play you in Soweto’. So we did‚ and of course Highlands lost 2-0 there.

“I’m very excited about coaching Highlands Park because of the affinity I have with the name Highlands Park.

“When I think of Highlands I think of players like Martin Cohen‚ Julie Kaplan‚ Des Backos‚ Eugene Kleynhans‚ Jerry Sadike – the first black player to play for a white team in 1979. And we had fantastic times.

“Highlands Park are an institution. And to be part of that and try and get Highlands back to where they were in those days would be a fantastic achievement for everybody‚ and fantastic thing for football in South Africa.”

Park director Sinky Mnisi said the club’s decision to release Freese‚ who got Highlands promoted via the playoffs having finished second in the First Division last season‚ came after a poor start culminated in a 4-1 defeat to SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday.

Highlands‚ who made strong signings after their promotion‚ have started their first season back in the PSL with one win‚ against fellow-promoted side Baroka in their opening game; three defeats and a draw.

“As Gordon has indicated it was very sudden. We decided about this on Sunday and implemented it on Monday‚” Mnisi said.

“By Sunday after the drubbing we decide we had to move forward.”

Mnisi said Igesund’s target set by the club is: “Very simply‚ to stay in the PSL. Top eight would be a bonus. To stay in the PSL is what Gordon is here for.” - TMG Digital


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Oct 19, 2016 7:12 | 0 replies


After 37 years not 47 SL

Oct 19, 2016 7:23 | 1 replies


Bet on SowetanLive incompetent staff to get 2016 - 1979 = 47.

Oct 19, 2016 7:51 | 0 replies


As far as I remember Dion Highlands Park was bought by Jomo Sono and it became Dion Cosmos. That's how Jomo Cosmos came to being.

Oct 19, 2016 7:53 | 0 replies


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Oct 19, 2016 8:1 | 0 replies


Maths went out the window is actually 37 not 47, or you wrote this article in the rain.

Oct 19, 2016 8:49 | 0 replies


Easy job for Gordon, I think he will be able to do it especial that he was hired at this time of the season.

Oct 19, 2016 9:8 | 0 replies