Bafana set to get busy in 2010

2009-12-08 11:22

BAFANA Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira gets down to the

business end of getting his players battle ready for the 2010 World Cup finals

early next year with a hectic schedule which kicks off in Durban next

month.

Bafana will play at least six official friendly matches and about

10 training matches against club teams in Brazil and Germany in the build-up to

the 2010 showpiece that kicks off at the new multi-billion Soccer City on June

11 when Bafana host Mexico in the opening Group A match.

Bafana’s other Group A opponents are two former world champions,

France and Uruguay.

The team manager Sipho Nkumane confirmed that Bafana would play two

friendly matches against neighbouring countries during their two week camp in

Durban from January 15-28, which has been organised for Premier Soccer

League-based players only.

Nkumane said: “We are still finalising the details but we have

planned two friendly games against southern African countries to help us get

ready for June.”

He added that in March the squad, including as many European-based

players he can get released, will be in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) for the entire

month.

Bafana had friendly matches scheduled against Paraguay and Uruguay

in March during their camp in Brazil, but due to the fact that Uruguay are in

Bafana’s group during the World Cup group stages, that friendly has been

cancelled.

In April Bafana head for Germany for three weeks where they will

play two friendly matches and a number of training matches against club

sides.

“We are looking for a replacement for Uruguay and should come up

with a name soon.”

Nkumane said the South African Football Association would be

writing to the English FA and other countries where Bafana players are employed

in order to get them released for all or part of the camps in Brazil and

Germany. Because these camps fall outside Fifa dates, clubs are not obliged to

release players.

Parreira is concerned with the likes of Blackburn Rovers pair of

Benni McCarthy and Elrio van Heerden, who are benchwarmers, plus national

captain Aaron Mokoena who is struggling to get match time for another struggling

English Premiership side Portsmouth.

Parreira has warned that he will not include any player in the

final World Cup squad unless he is satisfied they are fully fit. “We are hoping

clubs such as Blackburn and Portsmouth will release their players while we are

not holding our breath for Pienaar, but that is not a worry as Pienaar is world

class and plays week in and out for Everton.

“It would be a bonus getting any of those players released for the

camps (in Brazil and Germany).”

Nkumane said by playing two sides in South America and two in

Europe, Bafana will have no excuses not to be ready for Mexico, Uruguay and

France in the world showpiece.

“By the time we get to May and the head coach puts the fine tuning

to the squad, they will have no excuses as the players will have been given

every chance to get used to all styles of play we will meet in the opening

round.”


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