Masilela lands today

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Israel-based Tsepo Masilela will join Bafana Bafana today at training as they knuckle down to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

It transpired yesterday that the former Thanda Royal Zulu defender missed his flight from Israel to South Africa at the weekend.

Masilela failed to arrive in Johannesburg on Sunday, resulting in the South African Football Association writing to Fifa to have him banned.

Speaking from their training base in Durban, Mandla "Shoes" Mazibuko, Bafana Bafana head of delegation, said:

"We spoke to Tsepo, he assured us that he is on his way after missing the flight we had booked for him. They had a game on Sunday."

The other player who did not arrive on Sunday is Steven Pienaar, who had requested Safa to allow him join Bafana Bafana in Ghana for the biennial tournament.

However, Pienaar's request to feature for Everton in today's Carling Cup semifinal clash against Chelsea was rejected by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.

It remains to be seen if the English side will field the player despite Safa request to Fifa to have him barred from playing.

"We understand Schillo [Pienaar] is put under pressure by the club not to come to South Africa. Fifa are dealing with the matter," said Mazibuko.

"It is unfortunate that we had to go the Fifa route after Everton refused to release Schillo. The coach is on record as saying no selected players will be allowed to come late.

"The technical staff want to have a look at all the players as part of their preparations for the tournament. We need a well-oiled team going to Ghana."

Bafana Bafana will have two training sessions at Chatsworth Stadium today, the first at 9.30am and the second at 4pm.

Tomorrow, they will go to a gym in the morning and train in the afternoon.

The following day, they will train in the morning and afternoon.

On Friday morning, they will embark on various community programmes organised by their sponsors Adidas, Castle Lager and Absa. There will also be training in the afternoon.

Safa has lined up two international games, against Mozambique at 4pm on January 13 and Botswana at 6pm on January 16 at Chatsworth Stadium .

"We have made all the necessary arrangements for the two games. Admission is R20," said Sipho Nkumane, Bafana Bafana manager.

Bafana Bafana leave for Ghana on January 19 on a charter flight directly from Durban. They will land in Accra and proceed to Tamale by coach.