coach tunes bafana team
Brazilian coach Joel Santana finally gets a chance to see Bafana Bafana in action first hand in a competitive match in Germiston Stadium today at 4pm.
The South African senior national soccer team, plagued by injuries to influential players, takes on Isihlangu of Swaziland in a friendly.
Santana and his "band" are using the clash to sharpen the team up for Sunday's 2010 World Cup-Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria in Abuja.
Bafana Bafana players are well aware that they will all have to give 100 percent-plus if they hope to be in the team to play against the once mighty Super Eagles.
"We are taking the game seriously, it is important for us to do well to go to Nigeria in high sprits," said Pitso Mosimane, Bafana Bafana assistant coach.
Mosimane said the technical team was impressed with the enthusiasm displayed by the players ahead of the big one against Nigeria.
South Africa are still to beat Nigeria in their own backyard with all the national teams, including the women.
"We are confident of doing well this time round, we have a new coach just like the Nigerians [who have former Orlando Pirates coach Shaibu Amodu]," said Mosimane.
"I understand why Nigeria played so well in their 1-1 draw against Austria on Tuesday night, they wanted to impress the new coach.
"Shaibu has retained the core of the team that went to Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations.
"We are working hard at training and are looking forward to a good result."
Players like Itumeleng Khune, Katleho Mashego, Excellent Walaza, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Gerald Sibeko need to dance to the music of "Guitarman" Santana by beating the Swazis.
Prior to leaving for Nigeria last night, SA team manager Sipho Nkumane said striker Lerato Chabangu, Steven Pienaar and Teko Modise were all injured.
"But we are still taking them along to Nigeria, hoping they will recover in time for the game," he said.
"We need all our weapons to defeat Nigeria."
Isihlangu, guided by former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba, have quality players like Tony Tsabedze, Dennis Masina and Siza Dlamini.