Bafana hunt trio of wins

2008-10-14 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Bafana Bafana, now ranked a lowly 85th in the world, are aiming to score a unique hat-trick of wins when they host a watered-down Ghana in a friendly at the Free State Stadium tonight.

Skipper Aaron Mokoena is quietly confident his side can add to the wins over Malawi and Equatorial Guinea.

A Bafana side comprising PSL players beat Malawi 3-0 in Germiston two weeks ago, while a full strength Bafana edged out Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in Malabo in what was described as “shocking conditions” to end their disappointing 2010 African Nations Cup qualifying programme.

Now that Bafana have failed to reach the next round of qualifying for the 2010 continental showpiece in Angola, the focus is on next June’s Confederations Cup.

Said Mokoena: “We are looking forward to playing Ghana. Now that the 2010 Afcon campaign is over, we can fully concentrate on building a competitive squad to compete at the Confederations Cup.”

Coach Joel Santana has retained the squad that defeated Equatorial Guinea and has hinted strongly he will start with the same line-up.

Said Santana: “We need as many friendly games to help us prepare for the Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup as possible. The squad is improving as the players are getting to know each other better.”

Santana said he wants to give fringe players a chance, but it is unlikely he will tamper too much with a winning side.

That means Benni McCarthy will operate as a lone striker with Siyabonga Nkosi as a second striker.

But Santana might be tempted to replace off-form Orlando Pirates midfielder Teko Modise. That could mean a rare start for Moroka Swallows captain Lefa Tsutsulupa.

Santana said the win over Equatorial Guinea has boosted morale, and although Ghana have brought a second string team, he will be keen to get another win under his belt.

Santana could use the opportunity of giving rising star Bernard Parker another chance of playing alongside McCarthy in the second half, while midfield hardman Kagisho Dikgacoi will play a key role again.

Dikgacoi has ambitions of playing in the English Premiership where both McCarthy and Mokoena ply their trade, but he needs more caps for his country in order to secure a work permit. He impressed while on trial for Fulham in the off-season, but the lack of international experience prevented him getting a work permit.

Ghana have not brought their European stars, but fans will get the chance to see their legendary midfield star Stephen Appiah in action.

TV coverage: Live on SABC1 from 8.30 pm. — Sapa.

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