zambia lined up

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Bafana Bafana get back into action next year with a friendly game against Zambia on January 27 at a venue still to be announced.

"We are looking at taking the game to either Orlando Stadium [in Soweto] or Super Stadium [Atteridgeville]," said team manager Sipho Nkumane.

Joel Santana, Bafana Bafana coach, will select players from the Premiership and National First Division as part of his plans to have a bigger pool of players at his disposal.

Impressive players get a chance to be selected for the big one against Chile at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane, on February 11.

"We won't be going for overseas-based players this time round because January 27 does not fall under the Fifa international dates," Nkumane said.

"It is not only those in the National Soccer League who are assessed by the technical staff, impressive youngsters in the amateur leagues of Safa will also be selected.

"The plan is to have three or four players for one position to give the technical staff more options in case of injuries or suspensions."

This game will form part of Santana's final preparations in sharpening the team for the 2009 Confederations Cup that will be contested by eight nations in June.

"We all know that 2009 will be a tough one for us because of the Confederations Cup, which we will use to gauge our readiness for the 2010 World Cup," said Nkumane.

The Bafana Bafana manager clinched the deal with Kalusha Bwalya, president of the Football Association of Zambia, in Kimberley two weeks ago, for South Africa to play Chipolopolo .

"The games against other southern Africa countries have helped us a great deal to expose the youngsters to international soccer," said Nkumane.

"Bernard Parker is one of the youngsters who benefitted from those games and he has never disappointed since then. He is now one of the best players for Bafana Bafana.

"Our aim is to create a platform for more players here at home to impress the technical staff.

"The plan is to continue doing well in 2009."

l Bafana Bafana have gone four places up on the Fifa rankings released yesterday with Spain still topping the charts.

South Africa are now 76th, with Cameroon being Africa's best ranked team in the world (14th).

In Africa, Bafana Bafana are a disappointing 19th.