Bafana ready for Poland showdown
11 October 2012
Bafana Bafana have completed their preparations ahead of their friendly international match against Poland in the Polish capital, Warsaw on Friday. Kickoff is at 20:45.
The match venue, the 58 000-seater National Stadium, has a retractable roof and is the largest stadium in Poland. It hosted the opening match, second round group matches, quarter-final matches, and one semi-final of the Uefa Euro 2012, which was co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
After three training sessions, South African coach Gordon Igesund declared a clean bill of health as all the players are available for selection. It will be his third match in charge following encounters against Brazil and Mozambique last month.
'A great match'
"I believe this is going to be a great match because it's a good test for us to play against top European sides,' said Igesund. "Also, we don’t often get a chance to play against European sides.
"This is the kind of match we wanted and I believe the boys will learn a lot. I am looking forward to the match as much as the players, and I hope it will be a worthwhile exercise as this is an important period since we are building for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations," he added. "We will surely give a good account of ourselves."
Bafana Bafana have met Poland only once previously, shortly before the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup tournament in South Africa. Bafana won that game 1-0 on a goal by Terror Fanteni.
Heading into Friday's showdown, Poland is ranked 54th to Bafana Bafana's 76th position.
'Spirit is excellent'
Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo said: "The spirit in the camp is excellent and there are a lot of positives. We have had just three training sessions, but we have done a lot during that time.
"We are really looking forward to that match and for us it's a great challenge playing a good side like Poland. But we have quality players that I believe will be able to handle the situation."
The defender has taken over the skipper's armband from Steven Pienaar, who recently announced his retirement from international football.
"Being captain is a great responsibility and I am honoured to be leading these players," the Greece-based player said. "This will not affect my game as I know how big this role is," he added.
"Steve is a great friend of mine and he used to give a lot of advice to players. We all looked up to him. His absence is a great loss and he will be missed, but at the same time we have to move on."
Bafana Bafana will fly to Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday morning (13 October) to face the Kenyans in another friendly international match on Tuesday, 16 October at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi. The match kicks off at 18:00 South African time.
Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material