Confed cup 'is our stage'

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

Bafana Bafana do not only want to make a big party out of the Confederations Cup but to be the leading actors in it, national coach Joel Santana said yesterday.

Santana was speaking during the announcement of the team to face both Norway and Portugal in international friendlies in the space of five days.

The national team's new away kit was also launched by sponsors Adidas.

Bafana Bafana will play Norway in a Nelson Mandela Challenge match at the refurbished Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng next Saturday, March 28.

The team then flies out the same evening for the friendly against the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portuguese in Luasanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday, April 1.

There were no surprises in the team announced by Santana, who said the squad is made up of 80 percent core members with the other 20 percent still up for grabs for the "Tournament of Champions" in June.

"This has been the hardest selection of the team that we ever had. We have seen a lot of improvement in many players and we have tried to make the best out of that difficult situation," said Santana.

"We are trying to get tough games to get the squad ready. Even though the games between Norway and Portugal are within a short space of time we felt it would be great to play a strong side like Portugal.

"For the past eight months it's been important to show that we are not only going to host but to be the [main] actors of the event. We respect the potential of teams like England, Germany, Brazil and the like but we also want to win the event, especially as hosts.

"Every single match that we play or have played has been in preparation for the World Cup," said Santana.

Meanwhile, the new jersey had the logos in the politically correct place with the King Protea now on the left and the Safa logo on the right side.

Sowetan has over the past year pointed out that while there was a fight over the Springbok logo on the rugby jerseys, the ones on the national soccer team jerseys were in the wrong place.

Safa chief executive Raymond Hack also announced that Bafana Bafana will play Poland at the new Orlando stadium on June 6. Other international friendlies will involve Germany (September 5), Ireland (September 8), Norway (October 10) and Iceland (October 14).