Nkumane paves the way for Bafana

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Sipho Nkumane, Bafana Bafana manager, will start a series of meetings with the Football Association of Nigeria today to prepare for the June 1 match against Nigeria.

Nkumane, who left for Abuja yesterday, will inspect the hotel, training and transport facilities that will be allocated to the South Africans.

Safa has decided to lay a foundation for this opening 2010 World Cup-Africa Cup of Nations qualifier after delays in the arrival of new coach Joel "Mr Jackpot" Santana.

Santana is most likely to land in the country on Saturday, though Safa top brass are still evasive on his expected arrival.

While South Africa still have to assemble a team for the match following the resignation of coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, Nigeria are hard at work. They have selected a provisional team that has been preparing for just over three weeks.

Safa will finally name the team to play against Nigeria next Wednesday, which is expected to be selected by joint assistant coaches Pitso Mosimane and Jairo Leal.

While acknowledging it was a bit late for them to start with the preparations for the game, Safa president Molefi Oliphant said Santana will work closely with the duo.

"The situation was beyond our control, the coach resigned. The good thing is that Pitso and Jairo will still continue with Carlos' vision for the 2010 World Cup.

"I have been informed that the team to play against Nigeria will be announced next week," said Oliphant yesterday.

In Nigeria, coach Shaibu Amodu has selected a strong team that includes Obafemi Martins, Joseph Yobo, Nwankwo Kanu and Aiyegbeni Yakubu.

Amodu, the former Orlando Pirates coach, told Sowetanthey were fired up to get their qualifiers off to a flying start by beating Bafana Bafana. He said their technical team was getting the video of Bafana's game against Paraguay.

"We know that the majority of Bafana Bafana's tried and tested players were in that team against Paraguay, even if the coach has resigned."

Nigeria will play a warm-up friendly against Austria in Graz on May 27.

l Steven Pienaar could join Elrio van Heerden on the sidelines for the Nigeria game because of a knee injury.