Bafana at full strength for Cape clash

2010-11-05 14:50

Bafana Bafana will have the luxury of calling up its best players for the Nelson Mandela Challenge against the United States of America in Cape Town on November 17.

The match falls on a FIFA set date on the 2010 calendar and therefore clubs worldwide must release players to the national association for international matches, even if it is a friendly.

In the past, Bafana matches have been poorly supported in the Mother City, and that has contributed to the fact that the national team seldom played there in the past decade.

Bafana Bafana last played in Cape Town in September 2007, when they suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Zambia.

For many years, Cape Town had players like Benni McCarthy, Quinton Fortune, Shaun Bartlett, Duncan Crowie and Mark Williams, all of whom had great spectator appeal but this time, the national team will have to trade heavily on the appeal of Cape Town’s World Cup stadium.

There are still many locals who have not had a chance to watch a match at the iconic stadium and come November 17, many will grab the chance for a first-time experience.

At this afternoon’s media conference at the Cape Town Stadium, Safa vice-president Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko said it was regrettable that Bafana Bafana’s World Cup squad was not seen in local action, and it was not in the national team’s interests to play World Cup warm-up matches there either.

“It was purely on the advice of the technical staff that Bafana did not play World Cup warm-up friendlies in Cape Town,” said Mazibuko.

“All Bafana’s World Cup matches were played at inland venues and it was felt it was not in the team’s interests to prepare at coastal venues.

“But it’s a great chance for Cape Town people to show that they want the national team to play matches here in the future.”

Mazibuko said Safa will donate R1 million to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund prior to the match day kick-off.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said the City of Cape Town will splash out R2 million for the fixture to ensure that all the supporting services for the match are in place.

“We (the City of Cape Town) have taken our cue from the excellent spectator attendances in the Mother City during the 2010 World Cup and we’re confident the Cape Town ‘gees’ will prevail again to ensure that the match will be well attended.”

The rather late kick-off time at 9.30pm is as a result of accommodating the international viewing times.

The USA made it to the last 16 round at the 2010 World Cup and are presently in 25th position on the FIFA world rankings, while South Africa find itself in 52nd position.

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