5 March 2014
Bafana Bafana will be without captain Itumeleng Khune and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi, who have both been ruled out because of injuries, for their international friendly match against Brazil at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Khune is nursing a sprained ankle, which he sustained during a pre-match warm-up ahead of his club’s Caf Champions League match on Saturday. He missed the game and is expected to be out of action for up to 15 days.
The Kaizer Chiefs’ skipper will be replaced by Orlando Pirates’ goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, who has already reported for national team duty.
Meanwhile, Dikgacoi is suffering from a backache and has since been withdrawn from the squad. He will not be replaced as Bafana Bafana head Gordon Igesund believes he has enough cover in the midfield.
With Khune out of the clash, it is expected that Thabo Nthethe will lead the side, but coach Gordon Igesund has yet to make an annoucement.
‘I expect the players to put in a good performance’
Looking ahead to the Brazil clash, Igesund told the media on Monday: “I expect the players to put in a good performance. We did so against Spain and I believe the players will give nothing less.
“It is surely going to be a tough match, but I am certain the players will be competitive against the five-time world champions.
“We need these kind of games to gauge where we are and this is one match where you don’t need to motivate the players as they know what is expected of them,” said Igesund.
“Even though these are two different matches, I am confident that my players will be able to deal with the might of Brazil, like they did with the Spaniards.
“We are playing a fantastic team, favourites to win the 2014 World Cup which they are hosting.
“I hope the supporters will get behind the team because every game we play we want to win, and with their assistance we can get positive results. I want my players to show hunger, commitment and determination in this match.”
The Bafana Bafana players have also expressed their eagerness to face Brazil.
‘Exciting to play against Brazil’
“It feels good to be back, and it will be exciting to play against Brazil as it will be my first time,” said Belgium-based Andile Jali.
“We will fight for a win, even though it is going to be a difficult match. As players, we don’t have to be motivated because just being in the squad to play Brazil is enough motivation. We did well against Spain because we were playing as a team, and if we continue with the same mentality we will do well again.
“Every player is excited to play Brazil and we are all hoping to be in the starting line- up for such a big occasion.”
‘We know what to expect’
“All the players who are here know how Brazil plays, and I believe we have all been studying their moves as to how we can counter them. In fact I even have a picture in my mind of how to face a world-class player like Neymar, but we all know it will not be easy. We have done some homework on them and we know what to expect,” said Thabo Nthethe.
“Should I be captain on the night, it will be another exciting chapter in my career. We urge the supporters to come in numbers as it is very motivating to play in front of big crowds because it gives us that extra boost. We hope not to disappoint them, but aim for a win to put some smiles on their faces.”
Tickets are still available at Computiticket outlets and at Shoprite, Checkers and Shoprite/Checkers stores countrywide. Costs start from R50.