Bafana look to spare Santana

2008-09-08 00:00

BAFANA Bafana will aim to improve on coach Joel Santana’s poor record when they meet Guinea in an international friendly at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville this evening.

A mostly locally based squad will strive to beat the Sylli National and relieve some of the pressure off Santana. The Brazilian’s record stands at a disappointing played five, won one, drawn one, lost three. The weekend’s 1-0 defeat against Nigeria that saw South Africa fail to qualify for the 2010 African Nations Cup has not made matters any better.

Of the four overseas-based players — Matthew Booth, Lance Davids, Bevan Fransman and Siyabonga Nkosi — left from the squad that took on Nigeria, three stand a good chance of being in the starting line-up.

Booth missed out to Mbulelo Mabizela in central defence against the Super Eagles, and Santana has already said he intends starting the Russian-based central defender tonight to see what he can do.

Davids’s versatility and lack of game-time for the national team recently means he might get a run, playing anywhere from right-back to right midfield or playmaker.

Nkosi, who has barely played competitive football since his transfer from Kaizer Chiefs to Arminia Bielefeld last season, performed surprisingly well as a shadow striker against Nigeria, though he missed a number of chances, and should get another run tonight.

Mabizela had an impressive return against Nigeria, standing in for suspended captain Aaron Mokoena after a two-year absence from Bafana, though he did give Ikechukwu Uche too much space for the visiting team’s winning goal.

Santana is likely to want to see more of the ex-Bafana captain next to Booth.

SuperSport United’s exciting winger Daine Klate is in good form and desperate need of adding to his three international caps.

Bafana will hope for a morale-boosting victory over 41st-ranked Guinea, who are stopping in South Africa after their 0-0 qualifying draw against Zimbabwe in Harare on Sunday.

But that will not be easy. The only other time Bafana have met Guinea, they were soundly beaten 2-0 in their first match of the Nations Cup finals in Egypt in 2006.

And, according to the official Guinea squad list, their big-name stars have remained with the side from Zimbabwe, including Pascal Feindouno, Dianbobo Balde, Fode Mansare, Ismael Bangoura and Ibrahima Bangoura. Bafana will have their work cut out for them.

Kickoff: 6 pm — live on SABC1

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