Bafana to face Norway in Cape Town
7 November 2012
Norway has been lined up as a friendly opponent for Bafana Bafana early in the new year, shortly before the African Cup of Nations kicks off at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 19 January.
Cape Town Stadium will be the venue for the clash, which will be only the second match hosted at the beautiful arena since the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Previously, South Africa took on the USA in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in 2010, going down 1-0 in front of a sell-out crowd.
Norway and South Africa met previously in Phokeng near Rustenburg in 2009, with Bafana scoring a 2-1 victory after a last-gasp goal by Siphiwe Tshabalala.
'A good start to 2013'
"To play Bafana in South Africa in January is a good start to the 2013 year for us. We are preparing for the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, starting in March next year, and we have a bunch of young players knocking on the door right now," said Norway coach Egil Olsen.
"We played South Africa prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup and we unfortunately lost. I personally hope that this is not going to happen again," he added.
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund, who is currently overseas, said in a statement that he was excited about the match. "Norway is a quality opponent and we are grateful that we get the chance to play them as we near the end of our preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which will begin less than two weeks after this match.
"The exciting part is it affords me an opportunity to fine tune my final combination that will play in the tournament, so this will be a good test for us and will help us gauge our readiness," Igesund said.
Ranked 26th in the Fifa world rankings, the Scandinavians will travel to Cape Town in the peak of the summer tourism season. Team manager Johan Semb commented: "South Africa is a perfect destination for these types of preparations and camps. Firstly, it is snow and cold in Norway at this time of the year. Secondly, there is no time difference and the fact that the infrastructure, quality of the food and hospitality in South Africa is overwhelming is a huge plus for us."
Former PSL CEO Kjetil Siem is now the general secretary of the Norway Football Federation. He is thrilled to be returning to South Africa.
'It's like a dream to me'
"It's like a dream for me to bring the Norwegian national team to South Africa, in particular Cape Town," Siem said. "It is my second motherland, and I really want to show our players, media and Norwegians the best of my favourite town on earth.
"We are bringing the whole management for a week as well," he added, "and we will be training with friends at Ajax. I am really looking forward to this."
His South African Football Association (Safa) counterpart, Robin Petersen, commented: "We are indeed honoured to get the calibre of opponents like Norway as we prepare for Afcon.
"As Safa, we have always maintained that we will give our coach all the support he needs to do well in the tournament and this is testament to our promise. They are a top-ranked nation and should help us in our quest to succeed in the tournament."
Tickets for the match will range between R50 and R100 in price, making it possible for a full house of 55 000 to descend on the Cape Town Stadium.
They will go on sale on Wednesday, 20 November, and will be available at all Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers and Shoprite/Checkers outlets around the country.
Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material