South Africa/Equatorial Guinea: African Leaders to Attend Bafana Match (Johannesburg)

6 January 2012

The starting time of Bafana Bafana’s international friendly against Equatorial Guinea in Bata City on Friday has been brought forward to accommodate dignitaries from neighbouring countries. It will kick off at 18:00 South African time.

The change was made after the President of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, requested that the match be played at an earlier time to accommodate his counterparts from Chad and Cameroon, who have been invited to the match and wish to fly back home immediately after the clash.

Opening the Nkoantoma Stadium

The encounter between Bafana Bafana and Equatorial Guinea is part of the celebration to open the 40-thousand seater Nkoantoma Stadium, which will be used as one of the match venues for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Bafana Bafana held their first training session on Wednesday evening and head coach Pitso Mosimane was impressed with what he saw.

Mosimane has 10 new players in the squad: Siyabonga Mpontshana (Platinum Stars); Briliant Khuzwayo (Thanda Royal Zulu); Gilbert Rudiger, Mzikayise Mashaba and Ayanda Gcaba (all Free State Stars); Patrick Phungwayo, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Ryan Chapman (all Bidvest Wits); May Mahlangu (Helsingborg FC, Sweden); and Nazeer Allie (Ajax Cape Town).

‘Very positive’

“The first session was very positive,” said Mosimane. “It came out very well, but we need more time for the team to gel.

“I can tell they will play well, but there will not be that normal flow of Bafana Bafana because of a change in personnel. Unfortunately that is the price you pay for bringing in many new players at once – it doesn’t guarantee a positive score line but you will get positive contribution.

“They have the passion and will to play, which is a great start, but they are still playing as individuals and with time we will be able to change that.”

Blessing in disguise

Mosimane added: “It was a blessing in disguise to bring these new players here, because I have seen great potential future Bafana Bafana stars, and that is the positive side. By bringing them here we are able to confirm what we saw during the many games that we attend around the country.

“We should not put them under pressure, though, or rush them but just give them space to breath and improve,” he added.

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