islanders at mercy of bafana

SOUTH Africans must not read too much into tomorrow's friendly against Madagascar as Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana is using it to create a bigger pool to choose from for his 2010 World Cup squad.

SOUTH Africans must not read too much into tomorrow's friendly against Madagascar as Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana is using it to create a bigger pool to choose from for his 2010 World Cup squad.

This comes after Santana announced that he will use the game at Kimberley Stadium (3.30pm kickoff) to try fresh combinations in the build-up to the World Cup finals.

Santana has selected a team comprising players doing duty in the Premier Soccer League to face the Indian Ocean islanders, who have never been a threat to Bafana Bafana.

A win tomorrow should not make Santana smile, or the players for that matter, considering the quality of their opponents.

The morale is low in Bafana Bafana after two recent defeats against Germany and the Republic of Ireland.

For the record, Santana has guided Bafana Bafana to a record six consecutive defeats.

Also known as "Still Building" because of his never-ending process of building a solid squad for the World Cup, Santana has not ruled out the possibility of recalling striker Benni McCarthy.

When asked at a media briefing on their arrival in Kimberley yesterday if McCarthy will still be recalled, Santana said: "The team is open to everybody."

Richard "Kimberley Express" Henyekane, the Bafana striker who is from Galeshewe township, can't wait to play in front of his home crowd at international level.

"It will be a great feeling for me to play for Bafana in my home town and we are hoping for a win," said Henyekane yesterday.

Following the injury to goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, Santana has roped in Bidvest Wits' Darren Keet - a member of the Egypt-bound Amajita squad for the World Youth Championship - as a third goalkeeper.

For this game, Santana also has at his disposal an array of more seasoned players.

They include in-form Katlego Mphela, Siyabonga Nkosi, Daine Klate, Simphiwe Tshabalala, Morgan Gould and Mabhuti Khenyeza.

Bafana Bafana will visit Henyekane's former school, Tetlhanyo High, today to promote the "Football Friday" campaign, where South Africans are urged to wear national team colours in support of the 2010 World Cup.

Sipho Nkumane, Bafana Bafana manager, said the players will also use the opportunity to sign autographs for the local community.

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