Last chance to grab Cup places for Bafana

2008-11-06 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Bafana Bafana players will get a last chance to impress coach Joel Santana ahead of next year’s Confederations Cup when they host star-studded Cameroon in a friendly at Olympia Park on November 19.

Santana will name his squad to play the Indomitable Lions next Thursday and has promised to select his strongest possible side.

Said Bafana team manager Sipho Nkumane: “The coach is will be ready to finalise his squad for next June’s Confederations Cup after the Cameroon game. He is about 70 to 80% sure of players that will be in the Confederations Cup squad. This makes the Cameroon match that more important and the good part is that Cameroon are bringing their best squad along.”

The clash against Cameroon, who are bringing their Barcelona superstar striker Samuel Eto’o, will be Bafana’s last match of the year. However, Safa have arranged three more friendly internationals early next year to help Santana prepare for what will be the biggest challenge of his career.

The Confederations Cup is being used by world controlling body Fifa as a dress rehearsal for the 2010 World Cup. The competition features world champions Italy, hosts Bafana and the six continental champions, Spain, Brazil, United States, Egypt, Iraq and New Zealand.

Nkumane said all three friendlies will be at home and at venues where Bafana will be involved in Confederations Cup fixtures.

Bafana play Chile on February 11 at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace. The match will be used to reopen the venue after renovations to upgrade the stadium for both the Confederations Cup and the World Cup have been completed.

Bafana play Norway at either Ellis Park or the Free State Stadium on April 1 and will meet one of the Confederations teams not in Bafana’s group on June 6 — eight days before the Confederations Cup starts.

Said Nkumane: “The Cameroon match is very important as the coach will be able to select his squad and work with that squad through until the end of the Confederations Cup. The ball is now in our players court to go all out and make sure they do not miss the cut.

“It is every player’s dream to play in a major international event like the Confederations Cup and I am sure we will see a highly competitive clash against Cameroon.”

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