Igesund relishes new challenge at Stars

New Free State Stars coach Gordon Igesund will make changes when his new side meets Ajax Cape Town in their Absa Premiership clash at the Boland Stadium on Wednesday night. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.

Igesund, speaking after his first game in charge when Stars went down 1-0 in a tough Free State derby against Bloemfontein Celtic at QwaQwa’s Charles Mopeli Stadium on Sunday, said he would rebuild the confidence and Stars would be soon back on the winning trail.

Igesund resigned as coach of Maritzburg United recently and took charge of Stars last Monday in a shock move.

But Igesund said after the match he did not regret joining Stars and was confident he would succeed.

“This is a great challenge for me and I relish challenges. The players are good and what is lacking is confidence.

“But I will soon get that right. Also, the players looked nervous against Celtic, but that will change once I have had more time to work with them and rebuild the spirit.”

Igesund said that he did not make many changes for the Celtic match. “I did not want to come in and change things around until I had a look at the side and what I had.

“I had a first-hand look today [Sunday] and now know where to fix things.”

Ajax are one of Igesund’s former clubs. The Urban Warriors come off a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday, and although they are still in second place, they also have a new coach in Hollander Foppe de Haan, who also said he was confident he could keep Ajax on track to challenge for the Premiership title—this despite the comprehensive defeat by Bucs.

It will be a tough task for Stars and Igesund to beat Ajax away. The Urban Warriors will be determined to make amends for the defeat against Pirates and another loss at this crucial stage of the season would seriously harm their title aspirations.

Igesund admitted Stars did not play well in the first half. “However, we finished stronger in the second half and were unlucky to lose.

“But we will show more improvement against Ajax.”

Stars captain, the veteran Duncan Lechesa, missed a 49th-minute penalty, which he blasted wide.

“Had Lechesa scored then, we would have won the game as I would have closed up shop.

“But sadly, the winning goal was a deflection from our defender [Jonathan] Mensah. That was also unlucky, but while there is plenty of work ahead, I reckon we can achieve our goal of a top eight finish as there were a lot of positives to come out of the game.

In the other Sunday clash, Mamelodi Sundowns continue to climb up the table after they defeated struggling Mpumalanga Black Aces 1-0 at the Puma Stadium in Witbank.—Sapa

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