Final cut for bafana

IT'S now or never for Bafana Bafana's World Cup hopefuls as they welcome minnows Guatemala in an international friendly at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane tonight.

IT'S now or never for Bafana Bafana's World Cup hopefuls as they welcome minnows Guatemala in an international friendly at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane tonight.

This will be the last chance for the players to impress coach Carlos Alberto Parreira before he announces his 23-member team for the World Cup.

Parreira was scheduled to name the lucky players today, but that announcement is likely to be made in Johannesburg tomorrow. Five players from the provisional squad will be dropped.

Captain Aaron "Mbazo" Mokoena said the players were gearing themselves up for a tough match against the 115-ranked Guatemala.

"We are fired up for this match and expect a great turnout in Polokwane," Mokoena said.

"Guatemala are a closed book to us but we cannot afford to underestimate them. The match is crucial because we are left with a few days to the kickoff of the World Cup. We need to keep doing well in friendly matches to build morale in the camp going into the tournament."

Should he play today, Mokoena will enter the history books as the only Bafana player to be capped 100 times.

This was verified by Safa at the weekend after there was confusion regarding the number of matches Mokoena had played for the national squad.

Mokoena made his debut for Bafana as a 17-year-old against Botswana in the Cosafa Cup in Gaborone on February 20, 1999.

Parreira said based on the good preparations which the team had ahead of the World Cup, he was confident they will advance to the next round.

"We did well during our camps in Brazil and Germany, the overseas-based players have adjusted well to the team."

With South Africa having gifted players in Steven Pienaar, Teko Modise and Siphiwe Tshabalala, Guate-mala will rely on Carlos Ruiz, who plays for Puebla in Mexico.

Parreira has hinted that he will start with the team that finished the game against Columbia on Thursday, which SA won 2-1.

Kick off is at 8.35pm.

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