Bafana face Morocco challenge
Cape Town - South Africa will begin preparations for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations when they face the tournament hosts Morocco in an international friendly at the new Agadir Stadium on Friday, 11 October 2013.
Kick-off is at 21:00.
With both sides having missed out on the final round of Africa’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying competition, this match signals the start of a new cycle building toward a major event - the next AFCON which will be hosted in the North African country in about 15 months.
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has named a young squad for the clash, featuring no less than five uncapped players in the 22 (reduced from 23 after Kagisho Dikgacoi pulled out due to injury): Ronwen Williams, Kgosi Ntlhe, Keagan Dolly, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Ayanda Patosi and Sibusiso Vilakazi.
“When Morocco invited us to play at the new stadium, we jumped at the opportunity because of the fact that between now and the 2015 AFCON qualifiers there are only two FIFA calendar dates to prepare for those qualifiers,” said Igesund upon revealing his squad last week.
“So this gives me a great opportunity to have a look at some players, and had we not taken this opportunity we would have had to wait for March 2014 to prepare for our first 2015 AFCON qualifier in September.
“Half of the team I selected will represent us in the CHAN [African Nations Championship, set to be hosted in South Africa early next year] while the other will feature in the qualifiers, so it’s a two-pronged approach.
“We are playing a very formidable team, and you know North African teams are strong and will give us a stern test. This is a very serious match for both sides and there is some rivalry in that in our last match we drew 2-2 in the AFCON earlier this year - a match that was voted the best of the AFCON tournament.”
This will be the first friendly meeting between Bafana and the Atlas Lions, as all of their four previous clashes have taken place in the Africa Cup of Nations. The 2-2 draw earlier this year in the Nations Cup group stages kept up South Africa’s unbeaten record: two wins and two draws, eight goals scored and five conceded.