Gordon Igesund

Gordon Igesund is a South African former football player and legendary football coach who won the inaugural Premier Soccer League (PSL) Premiership title with the now defunct Manning Rangers. He went on to repeat the feat with three more clubs, Orlando Pirates, Santos and Mamelodi Sundowns. Gordon Igesund would remain an after thought in South African football despite his unmatched achievements until he joined relegation threatened Moroka Swallows, he saved them and the next season – under his guidance – Moroka Swallows came within two points of winning the league title which would have been Gordon Igesund’s fifth.

Gordon Igesund
Born     Gordon Igesund
July 26, 1956
Durban
KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa
Occupation  Football Coach
Retired Footballer
Position Striker
Nationality South African
Current Team Supersport United
2014 – 2016
Coach Since 1986 – to date
Footballer Since 1972 – 1995

Gordon Igesund was born in Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province of the Republic of South Africa – at the time, Natal Province of the Union of South Africa.

His father is George Norman Igesund, Gordon Igesund was raised in Port Shepstone a town situated in the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

In 1972 he began playing professional football for the now dissolved Durban City football club.

Over the next 8 years he would play for Durban United football club of which its fate, today, is unclear.

He also played for the Johannesburg club, Highlands Park football club which was later bought out by Orlando Pirates legend Jomo Sono and renamed it Jomo Cosmos.

Highlands Park football club resurfaced in 1990 for  brief period before resurfacing again in 2003.

In 1980 Gordon Igesund went to play in Austria for Grazer Athletik-Sport Klub (GAK).

In 1981 he moved to another Austrian side, Admira Wacker Mödling. There he spent 3 years before returning to South Africa.

In 1984 Gordon Igesund played for Durban Leeds United.

In 1986 he went to Witbank Aces, today’s Mpumalanga Black Aces, where he became a player-coach.

In 1988 Gordon Igesund went back to KwaZulu-Natal where he became player-coach a Durban Bush Bush. Since Witbank Aces in 1986 he would remain player-coach until his retirement as a player in 1995. In 1991 he played for AmaZulu, from 1992 to 1993 he was playing at D’Alberton Callies and in 1995 he concluded his playing career at African Wanderers.

 

Post-Playing Coaching Career

Gordon Igesund began coaching while playing at Witbank Aces in 1986 at the age of 30. He would remain player coach for 9 years and in 1995 he finally retired as a player while with African Wanderers.

In 1996 the Premier Soccer League (PSL) was founded. Gordon Igesund had left African Wanderers for Manning Rangers in the 1996/97 season, the inaugural PSL season, he led Manning Rangers to league title. While he remained at Manning Rangers for the next four years up to 2000 – he would be able to repeat the feat with the club.

Gordon Igesund, Orlando PiratesIn 2000 at the beginning of the 2000/01 PSL season Gordon Igesund joined Soweto giants Orlando Pirates football club, a far more high profile club than his previous side. Since Igesund himself won the inaugural league with Manning Rangers, Mamelodi Sundowns had dominated the previous three seasons – winning all three league titles.

Gordon Igesund made an early impact at Orlando Pirates winning the first official cup of the season, the Top 8 (BP Top Eight at the time, today’s MTN 8) and concluded the season by breaking the Mamelodi Sundowns stronghold on the league title while earning Orlando Pirates their maiden league championship in the PSL era – his second.

In 2001 he left Orlando Pirates for a smaller Cape Town based club, Santos, to the surprise of the South African football community – Igesund secured his third career league title with Santos ahead of local football powerhouses such as Kaizer Chiefs who were yet to win their first league title.

In 2002 Gordon Igesund set out on his most unsuccessful period when he joined Ajax Cape Town, during his time there  he managed to finish at number 13 on his first season, then number 2, followed by  6th place  and 11th place in his final season.

In 2006 he joined Mamelodi Sundowns, in his first season (2006/07) he helped them win their fifth league championship – his fourth with a fourth club and in 2007/08, still at Sundowns, he won his second Top cup.

In 2008 he returned to KwaZulu-Natal for the first time since leaving Rangers when he joined Maritzburg United.

In 2009 he joined Free State Stars and just like at Maritzburg United, he was unable to make much impact. and in late 2010 he was brought in by Moroka Swallows  CEO Leon Prins to replace Rainer Zobel.

 

Moroka Swallows 2010 – 2012

In 2010 Gordon Igesund was brought in to save Moroka Swallows, a famous Soweto club that is among the Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs that have never been relegated since the dawn of the PSL era. When he was brought in halfway through the season he admitted that it was a “massive challenge” but went on to say he was “up for it”.

Gordon Igesund, Moroka SwallowsWhen the 2010/11 season concluded, Gordon Igesund had succeeded in pulling Moroka Swallows from the relegation zone and they finished the season 13th placed.

In 2011/2012 Gordon Igesund and his Moroka Swallows – composed of ‘over the hill’ players like of Joseph Makhanya, Lerato Chabangu and their number one talisman Siyabonga Nomvethe – embarked on their most memorable season. This was at the time when Orlando Pirates had their grip tight on South African football scene.

On May 19, 2012 Gordon Igesund famously wept at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg after Moroka Swallows defeated Maritzburg United 1-0 after learning that Orlando Pirates had also won their match defeating Golden Arrows 4-2 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

On the last day of the league all 8 matches are played simultaneously to avoid any unfair practices relating to winning the league, top 8 spots, direct relegation or play-off spots.

Moroka Swallows went into their match with 53 points and a +13 goal difference while Orlando Pirates had 55 points and a +12 goal difference – all of this meant a victory for Swallows and failure to register a victory for Pirates would see Swallows win their maiden league title.

In the Orlando Pirates match, their captain Lucky Lekgwathi opened the scoring on the 26th minute, on the 27th minute Dillon Sheppard equalized for Golden Arrows and on the 30th minute Katlego Mashego put Arrows ahead.

This was positive news for Gordon Igesund and his Moroka Swallows as Pirates needed to equalize and win to beat them to the league title. On the 40th minute Siyabonga Sangweni equalized for Pirates and on the 61st minute Benni McCarthy put Pirates in front and Swallows were yet to score at Harry Gwala Stadium.

On the 68th minute Moroka Swallows captain Lefa Tsutsulupa broke the deadlock and put Swallows in front while reigniting their hopes of the league title. After full-time Moroka Swallows won their match 1-0 and had to wait for the Pirates match to finish, due to the unstable nature of that match, it was not unthinkable that Arrows could still score but in stoppage time Orlando Pirates were awarded a free-kick.

Daine Klate, a free-kick specialist had been substituted out for Isaac Chansa but Benni McCarthy – a legendary South African striker and renowned free-kick taker – was still in the field and in 2 minutes of stoppage he broke the hearts of the Dube Birds (Moroka Swallows) while putting it beyond doubt that Orlando Pirates will secure their fourth league title.

Gordon Igesund later explained that he had not cried for him but his players who deserved more after the way they performed throughout the season. Including their victory at Harry Gwala Stadium against Maritzburg United, Swallows had embarked on a four winning streak. Igesund later talked about the match they played at Orlando Stadium against Orlando Pirates where David Mathebula scored in the 30th minute and Swallows led the entire match for Happy Jele to score on the 3rd minute of stoppage time.

Gordon Igesund, PSL coach of the season 2011/2012While Swallows failed to win the league, their striker Siyabonga Nomvethe cleaned up at the PSL awards including the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot, Player of the Season and the Players Player of the Season.

Gordon Igesund won PSL coach of the season for 2011/2012.

He travelled with Moroka Swallows to an overseas pre-season training, while Igesund was away with Swallows Pitso Mosimane was fired from his Bafana Bafana coaching post and the media reports began surfacing linking Igesund to the job and upon return he expressed his interest but stated that he had been linked with the job before and nothing came of it.

In 2012/13 PSL, building on Gordon Igesund’s number 2 finish, Zeca Marques guided Moroka Swallows to a Top 8 Cup.

 

Bafana Bafana Coach 2012 – 2014

On Saturday June 30, 2012 the South African Football Association (SAFA) appointed Gordon Igesund coach of the South African Senior Mens National Team (Bafana Bafana).

Gordon Igesund, new Bafana Bafana coachHe was given a two year contract with a mandate to reach at least the semifinal in the 2013 Afcon tournament which South Africa hosted, as well as qualifying the country for the 2014 Fifa World Cup tournament which was held in Brazil – none of which he achieved.

While with Swallows, Igesund spoke out against the selection process in the national team, prior to his appointment as Bafana Bafana coach he had become increasingly vocal in his criticism of the selection process.

On Friday September 7, 2012 Gordon Igesund took charge of his first match as Bafana Bafana coach against Brazil, in that match he introduced midfield maestro Dean Furman and striker Dino Ndlovu, furthermore he selected Siyabonga Nomvethe, Lerato Chabangu and Benni McCarthy.

Although South Africa (Bafana Bafana) went on to lose that match 1-0, it would highly praised by the media as their best performance in years.

Igesund would face criticism over and over again over his failure to select Andile Jali who played at Orlando Pirates at the time. At one point Clive Barker, who won the 1996 Afcon with Bafana Bafana, voiced his opinion saying he believed Igesund had his reasons for not selecting Andile Jali but opined that he (Andile Jali) was the best box to box player in South Africa.

Most notably, Gordon Igesund left Andile Jali out of the squad that was selected for the 2013 Afcon held in South Africa.

South Africa was unable to reach the semi-finals in 2013 Afcon in which Nigeria were the eventual winners but their performance in the tournament was welcomed. They exited in the quarter-finals on penalties after a 1-1 draw against Mali.

When Gordon Igesund was appointed Bafana Bafana coach, Pitso Mosimane had already put Bafana Bafana’s chances of qualifying for the 2014 Fifa World Cup jeopardy – which led to his sacking.

Igesund set out on a war path hammering Central African Republic 5-0 on aggregate, 2-0 at home and 3-0 away, lost 2-1 to Ethiopia but concluded his campaign with a 4-1 drubbing of Namibia. However, all of it was not enough to put South Africa through to the next stage of 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers and they exited the campaign.

Under Gordon Igesund South Africa was defeated 1-0 by Zambia at FNB Stadium in the 2012 Nelson Mandela Challenge and defeated 2-0 by Nigeria at Moses Mabhida Stadium in the 2013 Nelson Mandela Challenge.

He also led South Africa in the nightmarish African Nations Championship that was marred by selection problems due to the tournament being unofficial – they were knocked out in the group stages after managing a victory against Mozambique only.

On Tuesday November 19, 2013 Gordon Igesund led Bafana Bafana to a 1-0 victory against then reigning World and European Champions – Spain.

Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki (Background) and Gordon IgesundOn Wednesday March 5, 2014 he led led Bafana Bafana to a 5-0 hammering by Brazil, it remains the side’s biggest defeat in history.

On May 26, 2014 played a 1-1 draw against Australia and took charge of Bafana for the last time on May 30, 2014 in a goalless draw against New Zealand.

All in all, Gordon Igesund led Bafana Bafana on 32 occasions; won 14 matches, drew 9 and lost 9.

On Monday June 2, 2014 Danny Jordaan, the president of the South African Football Association confirmed that Gordon Igesund’s contract will not be renewed after it expires at the end of August 2014.

On Saturday July 26, 2014 SAFA appointed former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba who was fired form the post in 2004 due to disagreements with SAFA bosses.

 

Return to the Premier Soccer League: September 2014 – to date

Shortly after SAFA confirmed that they would not be renewing Gordon Igesund’s contract speculation surrounding his future began.

On September 3, 2014 Gordon Igesund was appointed head coach of Supersport United. On Saturday September 14, 2014 he led Supersport to a 3-1 victory against Platinum Stars.

On January 27, 2016 Gordon Igesund was fired from SuperSport United in the wake of a string of poor results and was replaced with then unemployed former Kaizer Chiefs coach, Stuart Baxter.

 

 

Ellis Park Stadium Disaster

Gordon Igesund was head coach of Orlando Pirates in a Soweto Derby match against Kaizer Chiefs played on Wednesday night of April 11, 2001 at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa in which 43 people crushed to death.

It was reported that when Orlando Pirates scored an equalizer, fans rushed in to see what had happened and as a resulted of over capacity and the ensuing stampede – people started spilling over press boxes.

In the end 43 people lost their lives on that fateful night, to this day, the incident remains the worst of its kind in the history of South African sports.

A commission of inquiry established by then President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki concluded that a major cause of the tragedy was bribed security guards admitting fans without tickets into the stadium and poor crowd control.

 

Attack by Orlando Pirates fans

On Thursday April 26, 2001 just over two weeks after the Ellis Park Stadium disaster, Gordon Igesund was reportedly attacked by supporters of Orlando Pirates during a training session at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg.

The attack was believed to be motivated by Orlando Pirates lost of form and lost of the runaway lead at the top of the Premiership table. On Tuesday April 24, 2001 Orlando Pirates were knocked out of the SA Cup (at the time Bob Save Super Bowl, today’s Nedbank Cup) by Moroka Swallows – the defeat was also cited as the motivating factor.

The incident was heavily condemned by the South African football community including chairman of the Premier Soccer League and Orlando Pirates Dr. Irvin Khoza.

 

Departure from Santos, Alleged Breach of Contract and the Court Case

In 2002 When Ajax Cape Town made an offer to Gordon Igesund to get him to move over to them, Santos took legal steps in an attempt to force him (Igesund) to finish his two year contract.

In July 2002 the Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai ruled that Gordon Igesund could breach his contract with Santos and join Ajax Cape Town.

The Judge ruled that because of the nature of football, the court could not supply constant supervision to adjudicate whether the parties are fulfilling their obligations and it is difficult to determine how to quantify performances at this level.

Santos continued their bid to get Gordon Igesund back from Ajax Cape Town and at one point in September 2002 the Cape High Court ordered him (Igesund) to return to Santos – but as history attest, he never did, he remained at Ajax Cape Town until the end of the 2005/06 PSL season.

 

 

Teams Played For

Year Team Administrator Notes
1972 Durban City Unknown – Club Striker
Unknown Durban United Unknown – Club Striker
Unknown Highland Park Unknown – Club Striker
1980 – 1981 GAK Austrian Bundesliga – Club Striker (5 Apps, 1 Gl)
19881- 1984 Admira Wacker Austrian Bundesliga – Club Striker (76 Apps, 25 Gls)
1984 1985 Durban Leeds United Unknown – Club Striker
1986 – 1987 Witbank Aces Unknown – Club Striker, Player-Coach
1988 -1990 Durban Bush Bucks Unknown – Club Striker, Player-Coach
1991 AmaZulu Unknown – Club Striker, Player-Coach
1992 – 1993 D’Alberton Callies Unknown – Club Striker, Player-Coach
1995 African Wanderers Unknown – Club Striker, Player-Coach

Teams Coached

1996 – 2000 Manning Rangers PSL – Club Head Coach; 96/96 League
2000 – 2001 Orlando Pirates PSL  – Club Head Coach; 00 Top 8 Cup,  00/01 League
2001 – 2001 Santos PSL  – Club Head Coach; 01/02 League
2002 – 2006 Ajax Cape Town PSL  – Club Head Coach
2006 – 2008 Mamelodi Sundowns PSL  – Club Head Coach;06/07 League, 07 Top 8
2008 – 2009 Maritzburg United PSL  – Club Head Coach
2009 – 2010 Free State Stars PSL  – Club Head Coach
2010 – 2012 Moroka Swallows PSL  – Club Head Coach; 11/12 Coach of the Season
2012 – 2014 South Africa Senior Men SAFA Head Coach
2014 – 2016 Supersport United PSL – Club Head Coach

 

 

Personal Life

Gordon Igesund’s son, Grant Igesund was born in Austria in 1982. He is a retired football player who played at Ajax Cape Town, Manning Rangers and Maritzburg United.

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