Sizzling Bafana friendlies

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

The South African Football Association has lined up quality friendlies to prepare Carlos Alberto Parreira's Bafana Bafana for next year's Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Obviously topping the list is the away fixture to World Cup champions and number one-ranked Italy that is scheduled for October 17, but that does not take away from the quality of the other opposition and the fact that Bafana Bafana will enjoy exposure to a variety of playing styles.

Scotland, who Bafana Bafana are scheduled to meet next month, are ranked a respectable 23rd in the world, the US are a fearsome 16th.

According to the national soccer governing body, there are a number of friendlies still being negotiated with various federations to complete Parreira's proposed programme. Announcements of those will be made in due course.

Meanwhile, Safa has also approved Cape Town as the venue for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zambia on the weekend of September 8-9 this year. The match will form part of the CAF 50th anniversary celebrations.

Said Safa chief executive Raymond Hack: "The association has acted swiftly on Carlos' proposed programme that was endorsed by the national executive committee, and we are delighted to have secured matches with countries of this calibre, including the world champions, Italy."

The full fixtures: August 22 - Scotland (away); September 13 - Saudi Arabia, under negotiation (away); October 17 - Italy (away); November 17 - US, Nelson Mandela Challenge (home); January 13 2008 - Mozambique (home).