Bafana face Gabon challenge
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana will be hoping to finally bring an end to their
winless streak when they take on Gabon in an international friendly in
Nelspruit on Friday evening.
South Africa have not won any of their last eight matches, most
recently drawing 1-1 against Ethiopia and then Botswana in their two
opening 2014 Soccer World Cup qualifiers this month.
Interim coach Steve Komphela now faces another staunch test in
the form of the Panthers, who won one and drew one of their two opening
qualifiers, while they also sit a whopping 20 places higher than Bafana
in FIFA's world rankings.
The match should also mark Komphela's last involvement as
caretaker coach, with the Free State Stars tactician set to join four
other candidates this week in an interview process for the full-time
In team news, Komphela has already trimmed his squad down
significantly following the first two World Cup qualifiers, with captain
Steven Pienaar, Katlego Mphela, Oupa Manyisa, Thanduyise Khuboni and
Bongani Khumalo all having been sent home.
Gabon, meanwhile, are expected to field a mix of youth and
experience, with coach Paulo Duarte set to use the encounter as
preparation for their upcoming Olympic Games campaign.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Levy Madinda and Bruno Zita Mbangoye,
all part of the Panthers team that reached the 2012 Africa Cup of
Nations quarter-final, are set to start.
Duarte's previous encounter against South Africa was during his
reign as Burkina Faso coach in August last year, a game that ended 3-0 to
Bafana - the last time the team recorded a victory.