norway can we blow this

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

After being badly exposed by Chile in Polokwane on February 11, Bafana Bafana are out to restore their pride at the expense of Norway tomorrow.

The two countries meet in what is expected to be a no-holds-barred Nelson Mandela Challenge game at the refurbished Royal Bafokeng Stadium at 3pm.

Bafana Bafana lost 2-0 to Chile in an unimpressive performance that did not bode well for the Confederations Cup. But captain Aaron Mokoena reckons Bafana Bafana will be a well-oiled machine when the tournament starts on June 14.

"It's good that we are playing a series of games against some of the best teams in the world to help us identify the areas where we have to tighten up," Mokoena said.

"I strongly believe we are on track in terms of our preparations. The good thing is that we have been able to assemble the same players for some time now.

"The game against Norway is a must win for us. We owe it to Madiba and the nation, though I must say it won't be an easy game because Norway have a great team.

"We need a positive result going to Switzerland for the game against Portugal on Tuesday - the two games are important for our Confederations Cup preparations."

Midfield magician Teko Modise has promised South Africans a far better approach than against Chile.

"Chile surprised us with their pace, those guys were launching their attacks right from the back and we cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes," he said.

Norway, who arrive in the country today led by former Liverpool star John Arne Riise, are still on cloud nine after a 1-0 win over Germany in February.

They have other good players like Mokoena's teammate at Blackburn Rovers, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Brede Hangeland of Fulham.

South Africa will look to the likes of Bernard Parker, who is expected to lead the attack in the absence of Benni McCarthy, Steven Pienaar and Mabhuti Khenyeza.

Coach Joel Santana should also give players like Masilo Modubi, Katlego Mashego and Katlego Mphela a run.

l Today is the deadline for the eight countries taking part in the Confederations Cup to submit a 50-member provisional squad to Fifa and Sowetan can reveal that McCarthy's name has been included by Santana.