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Igesund proving his detractors wrong 07/03/04
Grant Igesund has been in highly impressive form for Ajax Cape Town this season, proving to his doubters that he is in the team on merit alone and not just because his father happens to be the coach.

With the Urban Warriors not being in action this weekend, Grant took some time out to talk to the Ajaxct.com website about how his relatively short career has progressed thus far.

Hi Grant, can you please give us a brief background of how you first got into soccer?

Grant : I grew up in Durban and played football in the amateur leagues as a youngster. Obviously my Dad's involvement in local soccer had a major influence on me.

I have therefore always been interested in South African soccer, unlike many kids growing up in South Africa who idolise British football.

When I was 16 I joined my dad at Manning Rangers where I trained with the first team and had my first taste of professional soccer.

You also spent some time at Orlando Pirates, tell us about your time there.

Grant : I was actually in matric at the time when my Dad was the Pirates manager and I used to go and spend my school holidays up in Jo'burg.

I was fortunate enough to be able to train with the team, which was a real eye-opener, because suddenly I found myself playing alongside guys who are idolised by the South African public.

I really enjoyed my time there and formed a good friendship with Joseph Ngake, which has continued now that we are together at the Urban Warriors.

The club was actually interested in signing me, but my Dad dissuaded me due to the problems he was starting to experience with the club

Have you been happy with the way the season has been unfolding for you so far?

Grant: Yes, playing for a team like Ajax shows that my play is improving and with the depth in the side, I will keep on improving as a player.

What do you think has made such a difference to the team this season?

Grant : I think the four players who were signed from the DRC have made a huge difference. They have a vast amount of experience between them having played at the highest level in Africa (the Champion's League).

Do your think that Ajax can go all the way and win the Castle Premiership?

Grant : Yes, all the players believe that we can go all the way. Last season we were struggling to stay in the league but this season we have managed to turn things around and we are believing in ourselves.

If we don't win the league, we have ourselves to blame because I think we have the right players, who have big dreams.

Obviously Chiefs and Santos will be our major challengers, but I still think that Swallows could come into the picture as well, despite their loss to Santos last week.

What is it that makes Ajax the team to beat?

Grant: It is because we have a great coach who can bring the best out in his players.

People have said that you are in the team because of your father, what to you have to say about that?

Grant: When I started to play under my father at Manning Rangers, I had to work extra hard because not many people knew me as a soccer player, they just knew my father, but I believe that I have proved that I am as capable as any other player in the Castle Premiership.

What is it like playing under your father?

Grant: First and foremost he is a professional coach and whatever he does at training is very professional. He treats me like any other player.

To him all players are the same - no one is treated differently, whether you are an international or a youngster coming up from the junior ranks.

Do your feel that your play in the team is guaranteed because of him?

Grant: No one is guaranteed a place in the team, everyone has to work hard all the time, like any player in the Urban Warriors' side, it's not who plays in a match that matters, it is what the team can do. It takes the whole squad to produce the final 11 players.

Who is your preferred choice as striking partner?

Grant: In most of the games that I have played this season, I have been twinned with Wifred Mugeyi and I am kind of used to playing with him.

You have been in the Amaglug-glug squad before, but despite your good form you are no longer in the picture. Can you explain this?

Grant: I played for the national under-23 team but I don't know why I was dropped. At the same time, I believe that the players who are currently in the team have what it takes to do a job for the country.

Any message for the Urban Warriors supporters?

Grant: I want them to know how their passionate support has made us a better team, if it were not for them, we wouldn't be where we are today.

We are all determined to win the league for them, that is the only way that I think of showing our appreciation for their support.



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