Bafana Bafana defy Pirates and hold on to Modise

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

The Bafana Bafana management yesterday showed Orlando Pirates who is boss by holding on to Teko Modise for the international friendly against Canada at Kings Park stadium in Durban this evening. Kickoff is at 7.30.

Pirates had recalled the mercurial midfielder to train with the rest of the team for their much-awaited derby against Kaizer Chiefs at the same venue on Saturday evening.

But Bafana Bafana said nix to the request, stating clearly that this is a Fifa week. Bucs' Bennet Chenene is ruled out by an injury sustained in Sunday's game against Free State Stars.

All this, compounded by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's obvious anger at the Premiership for arranging games that deprived him of valuable training time, points to an unsteady relationship that has affected the performance on the field.

Bafana Bafana have not scored a goal in five international friendlies and do not seem like they are about to break the duck any time soon.

Speaking at a press conference, captain Benson Mhlongo said they were aware of the mission ahead of them and were ready.

"We all want to work hard to prove to the coach that we need to go to the Africa Cup of Nations next year," he said.

"We have shown that we are improving in each game, but people must expect us to make mistakes because we learn by them. We promise to give our best."

Bafana Bafana need to do something drastic if the nation is to rally behind them and have faith in their chances in the continental spectacle in Ghana.

Today's game sees a host of local players in contention for selection and only Rowen Fernandez, Tshepo Masilela, and Lance Davids play in leagues outside the country. If the first half of the Nelson Mandela Challenge against the US is anything to go by, then Bafana Bafana are in trouble.

But if the second-half performance could be sustained South Africans could be smiling and singing "happy days are here", for a change.

This is a game where players like Lerato Chabangu, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Lebogang Mothibantwa and Thembinkosi Fanteni should stand up and be counted.

Morgan Quarry, the Canadians' team manager, said yesterday: "We are happy to be here and are looking forward to playing Bafana Bafana for the first time. We have brought our A team which has experienced players who feature for top teams in England, Spain, Germany and Denmark. Only a couple of players are missing.