Bafana look for 2nd win

2008-01-16 00:00

TWO wins in a row would be just the right tonic for Bafana Bafana on the eve of departing for the African Nations Cup finals in Ghana, as they take on Botswana in their final warm-up at Chatsworth Stadium tonight (6 pm).

South Africa’s 2-0 friendly defeat of Mozambique in Chatsworth on Sunday served the purpose of loosening some aching limbs after Bafana concentrated on fitness last week, and the team will be looking to step up the intensity in this evening’s game.

Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira’s assessment of the Mozambique game was: “We need to be more compact and to use the ball more. Especially there in Ghana where it is so hot, so the team that has the patience, that has the ball, will have the big advantage and will impose their style.

“And we have to use dead-ball situations a lot better, to take profit from these situations. They make a lot of difference in today’s football.”

Parreira has said that he intends retaining most of the team that started against Mozambique, with just a few changes here and there. “There has to be one first team,” the coach said.

While young full-backs Bryce Moon and Tshepo Masilela impressed on Sunday with the attacking dimension they added, the Bafana coach might be tempted to give Brett Evans a chance to stake a claim at left-back. Parreira might also give reserve goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs some match practice, if even for one half.

Fringe first team players who did not feature on Sunday, such as Lance Davids and Bevan Fransman, could get a run. Sunday’s substitutes — Lerato Chabangu Terror Fanteni and Elrio van Heerden — might also have another opportunity.

Parreira said that he was satisfied with the performance of captain Aaron Mokoena in a new defensive midfield role, and the Blackburn player is likely to be given more time to adjust to the position.

“It is not easy to build a player in a No 5 position as a Brazilian player plays [in that position],” Parreira said. “It’s a completely different role to the one he fills for his club.

“So I cannot judge him too much. He can do more, and he can do better, but this will come with the games. It’s fair to give him another game and make a decision later on.

“For his first game, I was quite happy. When we started with Macbeth Sibaya in that position it took about two or three games for him to get the idea about what we wanted.”

Mokoena will be playing in his fourth Nations Cup.

Comparing the strength and hunger of the current team to previous Afcon squads he has been part of, the skipper said: “I’ve been lucky that I played together with the likes of Mark Fish and Lucas Radebe, who were very hungry players.

“But the difference with the squad we have now is that it is a young team age-wise, and they are hungry players.

“They know that the bigger picture is 2010. They have to show the coach and the country as a whole that they are ready to represent South Africa in 2010.”

Bafana open their Nations Cup Group D campaign against 2006 World Cup qualifiers Angola in the inland city of Tamale next Wednesday.

South Africa play 2004 Afcon winners Tunisia in Tamale on Sunday, January 27; and 2002 finalists and 2006 semi-finalists Senegal in Kumasi on Thursday, January 31.

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