SA may call off Bafana's Poland match
South Africa is to make an attempt to withdraw from their commitment to play a friendly in Poland because new coach Gordon Igesund is not keen to make the trip.
He wants instead to play African opposition, as he told reporters last week, and win his next two matches to gain public confidence, as he said to his Safa bosses at a major behind-the-scenes meeting last Friday.
The South African Football Association has already moved to try and get out of the October 12 date in Bydgoszcz but whether it will prove successful remains to be seen.
Poland have started selling tickets for the match in a provincial town that does not often host international matches and which is keenly anticipating the game. It is also a warm-up for Poland before they host England in a vital World Cup qualifier just four days later.
South Africa are playing in Poland in return for the trip that the east European nation made to Mzansi three years ago to help Bafana prepare for participation in the 2009 Confederation Cup.
The two associations signed a reciprocal agreement and South Africa now face being accused of bad faith should they fail to honour the agreement.
They have done this before, with severe financial costs. When Carlos Alberto Parreira returned to the helm of the national team in 2009 and did not want to play a prearranged friendly match in Chile, Safa had to pay over lost costs to the South Americans.
Safa is caught now between the difficulty of balancing the wishes of the coach - whom it must support if he is to produce the required results at the Afcon finals - and long-standing commitment and doing the honourable thing.
Alternate fixtures for Bafana Bafana against Tanzania, Angola or Mauritius are being investigated for the dates of October 12 and October 16, insiders said.
Igesund's request for weaker opposition to bolster confidence opens the debate on what is the best preparation ahead of a difficult tournament like the Nations Cup. Should South Africa be playing easy matches to get back their self-belief and win over a sceptical public or should they be testing their strengths and weaknesses in tough games like the one Poland away will likely be?
The new coach was given a potential horror start with an away game against five-time world champions Brazil earlier this month but emerged from a 1-0 defeat in Sao Paulo with great credit.
But even with that result behind him, the antipathy towards Bafana Bafana was on display days later when fewer than 10000 spectators bothered to turn out to watch the national side at home against Mozambique in Nelspruit. Traditionally, fans stay away when the team is not delivering.
When South Africa won the Nations Cup in 1996 their build-up included matches against Argentina, Egypt and Germany in the months leading up to the victory.