Norway will Bafana take them lightly

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Norway might be battling in their World Cup qualifiers, but they can surprise Bafana Bafana if coach Joel Santana does not select players worth their salt for their match in Rustenburg on March 28.

They play in the much-anticipated Nelson Mandela Challenge at the revamped Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Santana will name his squad for the match tomorrow. The squad will also play Portugal in an international friendly away on March 31.

Norway, who have reunited with former coach Egil Olsen, are on the bottom of the log in their 2010 World Cup qualifying group.

The former Wimbledon boss, who led the unfancied Scandinavians to the 1994 World Cup, is a good tactician.

Johan Carew, the powerful Aston Villa forward, is expected to lead their attack. He is likely to be partnered by Thorstein Helstad who plays for Le Mans club in France.

Christian Grindheim, who plays club football at Dutch club Heerenveen, could make things happen for them in the midfield.

But the likes of Teko Modise, Elrio van Heerden, Bernard Parker and Surprise Moriri, who are expected to be selected in the squad, should able to hold their own against the Norwegians.

Pitso Mosimane, the Bafana assistant coach, said they have been busy assessing all their players locally and abroad.

"I can tell you that they are doing well at their respective clubs, and you could see that they want to be in the national team," said Mosimane yesterday.

"Players such as Tsepo Masilela, [Tembinkosi] Fanteni, Siyabonga Nkosi, Bernard Parker, Aaron Mokoena all had game time in their last matches and they gave their all in their matches."

He was confident that they will have star midfielder Steven Pienaar who is on top of his game at English Premiership club Everton.

Pienaar, who did not pitch up for Bafana matches against Zambia and Chile this year after his club informed Safa that he was injured, had a storming match when Everton beat Stoke City 3-1 on Saturday. He was voted man of the match.

Norway are ranked 45 on the Fifa world rankings released last week, while South Africa are ranked 74.