South Africa abandon hopes of picking Norwich midfielder

JOHANNESBURG Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:19pm IST

Gordon Igesund looks on before a media briefing in Johannesburg, June 30, 2012. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files

Gordon Igesund looks on before a media briefing in Johannesburg, June 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa are abandoning a bid to get Norwich City midfielder Andrew Surman to play for them at the upcoming African Nations Cup finals, coach Gordon Igesund said on his return from a week-long trip to Britain.

Igesund had travelled to try and persuade the Johannesburg-born Surman, 26, who started his career at Southampton and later helped Norwich to Premier League promotion, to commit his international future to South Africa but says he met with a lukewarm response.

"I believe he didn't show us the interest and passion we had expected from those wanting to play for Bafana Bafana. I got the feeling that he is not ready to commit to us so will not be pursuing that mission anymore," said Igesund.

Surman played four times for the England Under-21 side, but under FIFA rules is still eligible to play for South Africa at full international level if he seeks a change of allegiance.

Igesund has in recent months already called up two other South African-born players who were raised in Europe and previously not considered - Oldham Athletic midfielder Dean Furman and former Benfica junior Ricardo Nunes, who now plays in Slovakia.

South Africa host the upcoming Nations Cup finals from January19-February10.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson,; Editing by Mike Collett)

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