Bafana Bafana

Bafana: Life after Pienaar

2012-10-11 22:08
Bongani Khumalo (Backpage)

Warsaw - Bafana Bafana are rebounding from captain Steven Pienaar's decision to quit international soccer, his successor Bongani Khumalo said on the eve of a friendly against Poland.

"With Steven being in previous camps and a good friend of mine, he's someone that I always used to talk to and get advice from," Khumalo told journalists after a training session at Warsaw's National Stadium.

Everton midfielder Pienaar's announcement earlier this month that he was bowing out overshadowed the naming of the squad for Friday's friendly against the Poles and next Tuesday's trip to Kenya.

The slight 30-year-old - the only South African featuring regularly in a major European league - said he could no longer cope with the physical demands of playing for club and country.

He succeeded Aaron Mokoena as skipper after the 2010 World Cup on home turf and had limited success in the role.

"He's been in Europe for many years and has great experience in European and international football. All the players and I have great respect for him. A quality player like that will be missed in any team," said Khumalo.

"But in saying that, we have to move on. And I believe there are players who are ready to take up the opportunity that's been left by him."

Greek club PAOK's defender Khumalo is one of the few other South Africa internationals who ply their trade abroad.

The Poland and Kenya matches are crucial for South Africa as they count down to the Africa Cup of Nations. As hosts of the January 19-February 10 showcase, their automatic berth means they only have friendlies to get ready.

Poland found themselves in a similar position as co-hosts of June's European Championships with neighbouring Ukraine.

South Africa will be hoping that is not a bad omen - the Poles crashed out of the tournament in the group stage.

Under new coach Gordon Igesund, South Africa started their preparations last month by losing 1-0 in Brazil and beating Mozambique 2-0 at home.

"This game for us is a good test," said Igesund.

"We don't often get an opportunity to play against European teams, and it's a different variety altogether.

"I've brought 26 players. We are trying to prepare a bigger team for the Africa Cup of Nations and I've used these two games, against Brazil and Mozambique, and this game and the game against Kenya to look at as many players as possible.

"I need to get the final squad organised as quick as I can. Three months is a very short period to work with a team," he stressed.

For Poland, meanwhile, the South Africa match is a warm-up for Tuesday's crunch 2014 World Cup qualifier against England in Warsaw.


Khune open to PSL switch

2015-03-27 14:12


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Bafana Bafana have crashed out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after losing to Ghana in their Group C clash in Equatorial Guinea. What should happen now?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.