Bafana playing for Confed Cup chance

2009-01-26 00:00

WITH an entirely locally-based side, Bafana Bafana’s friendly against Zambia at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville tonight will be a big opportunity for players to stake a claim for a place in the Confederations Cup in June.

With Bafana turning their attention to South American and European opposition following tonight’s friendly, this could be the last chance for a number of PSL-based players to impress coach Joel Santana.

The Brazilian is sure to call in the country’s European-based stars for Bafana’s remaining friendlies — against Chile in Polokwane on February 11, Norway in Rustenburg on March 8, Portugal in Lucerne (April 1) and an unconfirmed match against Poland (June 6) — before kicking off the Confed Cup against Iraq at Ellis Park on June 14.

Santana has said that he has already settled on 80% of the squad for the Confed Cup, the dry run to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“I am confident about how we will play given that we are using a team that has played together before, save for the new faces that we also want to have a look at,” Santana said at a news conference yesterday.

“We have identified the bulk of our team for the Confederations Cup and we are looking at strengthening key positions. Tonight’s game will also enable us to select the team that will feature in the friendly against Chile.

“Football is a process, where every match brings new objectives and in this case we are trying to get players to fill the positions where we are experiencing difficulties.”

Players Santana might pay special attention too are right-back Nazeer Allie, defenders Bongani Khumalo and Siyabonga Sangweni, left-wing Franklyn Cale, and strikers Mabhudi Khenyeza and Katlego Mashego.

Two of the more experienced players Santana should field tonight are Bafana’s potential central midfield pairing at the Confed Cup, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Teko Modise.

Pirates playmaker Modise, the captain this evening, said: “This is very important to me as a player, because some of us were discovered in such games. The new guys will definitely want to make a good impression. With this our first game of the year, we need to win and have a good start.”

Kickoff: 8.30 pm – live on SABC1

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