bafana fit as the Rest

BAFANA Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira did not mince his words when he declared his players as fit as any of their 2010 World Cup opponents.

BAFANA Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira did not mince his words when he declared his players as fit as any of their 2010 World Cup opponents.

Parreira said the fitness of the players had improved tremendously during the intensive training camps in Brazil and Germany.

"The team that we have in camp here (in Johannesburg) has improved a lot in terms of the fitness level and will be ready to face any team in the World Cup," Parreira said yesterday.

"Once again I urge South Africans to rally behind the team because their backing will be crucial for the players. There are people who still believe we will not make it to the second round, but I am confident my players will not disappoint the nation," the veteran mentor said.

l Medico Ephraim Nematswerani is back with Bafana after the resignation of Ntlopi Mogoru, who has taken a swipe at Parreira for packing the technical staff with Brazilians and roping in his nephew Carlos Parreira as an additional physical trainer.

Mogoru argued that a South African should have been employed. He also complained that some of the players in the national team remain unfit.

He refused to be intimidated by Bafana assistant coach Jairo Leal, with the two almost coming to blows on several occasions, including during the camp in Brazil, in full view of the players. Last week at the Sandton Hotel, the duo were separated by Bafana Bafana head of delegation Xolani Mtumtum and masseur Zondi Soloshe.

lSowetan has learnt that 8000 of the 30000 tickets for the Bafana-Thailand game at Mbombela Stadium were sold yesterday. The match is on Sunday.

l The National Soccer League is willing to pump R70million into the new single-stream National First Division, which will come into effect during the 2011-2012 season.

The decision to merge the inland and coastal streams was taken by the league's board of governors at the weekend. The NFD clubs will also be required to field a minimum of five SA-born Under-23 players at all their games. It was also agreed that only three (previously five) foreign players will be allowed per club. - additional reporting by Matome Lebea

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