Igesund faces first trial run

2013-01-08 00:00

CAPE TOWN — South Africa will continue their preparation for the looming 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) when they take on Norway in an international friendly at the Cape Town Stadium tonight. Kick-off is at 8.15 pm.

This will be the team’s first outing since coach Gordon Igesund named his 23-man squad for the continental tournament and, with the upcoming friendly against Algeria, represents final opportunities to test players, tactics, combinations and formations ahead of the big kickoff against Cape Verde on January 19.

Playing European opposition prior to an all-African tournament may seem an inappropriate warm-up on paper, but Igesund points out that Bafana Bafana’s Group A opponents will probably not play with a stereotypical “African” style.

“It is good to be playing Norway as part of the Afcon 2013 preparations because if you look at the style of play of both Morocco and Cape Verde, it is European-orientated,” the coach told a press conference in Cape Town.

“… I must emphasise that while winning is good, that is, however, not everything we are looking for. We need to gel and be ready for the tournament, which is the bigger picture.

“There is no point winning against Norway and Algeria and then not deliver on the 19th [January] when we face Cape Verde.

“This is a very new team and we have some different combinations we need to work on. So these two matches are crucial in that they will help the team to become a unit …”

Norway are not regarded as one of the strongest European sides, but they do boast a Fifa world ranking of 24 (some 63 places higher than Bafana) and have appeared at three World Cups (1938, 1994 and 1998). They also hold the unique record of never having lost to five-time world champions Brazil.

They are coached by Egil Olsen, who has been in charge since January 2009, and have brought a squad comprised mainly of locally based players as well as a few who play their club football in their Scandinavian neighbours, Denmark and Sweden.

Bafana and Norway have met in two previous friendlies, both in 2009. South Africa defeated the Europeans 2-1 in March 2009 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, thanks to goals from Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala, while later in the year Norway gained revenge with a 1-0 win in Oslo, thanks to a strike from Kjetil Waehler.

SA V NORWAY – PREVIOUS MEETINGS

March 28, 2009 - Royal Bafokeng Stadium

Bafana won 2-1 (Parker 18’, Tshabalala 90’, Morten Pedersen 27’)

October 10, 2009 - Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo

Norway won 1-0 (Kjetil Waehler 48’)

SA SQUAD

Goalkeepers:Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates), Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Defenders: Siboniso Gaxa (Kaizer Chiefs), Tsepo Masilela (Kaizer Chiefs), Bongani Khumalo (PAOK, Greece), Siyabonga Sangweni (Orlando Pirates), Thabo Nthethe (Bloemfontein Celtic), Anele Ncgongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders: Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace, England), Dean Furman (Oldham Athletic, England), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates), May Mahlangu (Helsingborg, Sweden), Thulani Serero (Ajax, Netherlands), Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows), Thuso Phala (Platinum Stars), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs)

Forwards:Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs), Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Tokelo Rantie (Malmo, Sweden), Lehlohonolo Majoro (Kaizer Chiefs)

NORWAY SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Rune Almenning Jarstein (Viking), Andre Hansen (Odd Grenland)

Defenders: Espen Ruud (OB, Denmark), Kim Andre Madsen (Stromgodset), Lars Christopher Vilsvik (Stromgodset), Ruben Kristiansen (Tromso), Fredrik Semb Berge (Odd Grenland), Jorgen Horn (Stromgodset)

Midfielders: Bjorn Helge Riise (Lillestrom), Ruben Yttergard Jenssen (Tromso), Ardian Gashi (Helsingborg, Sweden), Magnus Lekven (Esbjerg, Denmark), Anders Konradsen (Stromgodset), Mohammed Fellah (Valerenga), Yann-Erik de Lanlay (Viking)

Forwards: Erik Huseklepp (Brann), Tarik Elyounoussi (Rosenborg), Alexander Soderlund (Haugesund), Jo Inge Berget (Molde), Marcus Pedersen (OB, Denmark)

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