'Bafana must come to the party'
Johannesburg - New Bafana Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane, has asked his players to come to the party when they face Ghana in a friendly international at Soccer City on Wednesday night.
Kick-off is at 20:35.
It will be Mosimane’s first match in charge since taking over the reigns from Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira who ended his contract with the national squad after the World Cup finals last month.
Said Mosimane: “I am looking for continuity.
"We all know how good Ghana are. They were the best African side at the World Cup, but I believe we can beat them.
I am not making any promises but I have confidence in my players who I know will come to the party in my first game in charge of Bafana.”
Ghana, with the bulk of their World Cup stars, jetted into OR Tambo Airport on Monday to prepare for what promises to be a mouth-watering baptism for Mosimane.
Of the 22 players Mosimane selected, only Russian-based Macbeth Sibaya and right back Anele Ngconca who scored for his Belgium club in the 4-0 rout of Gent on Sunday, are not in camp.
Both will arrive on Tuesday.
"Anele and Macbeth played on Sunday so they will arrive on Tuesday.
"I have been impressed by the commitment shown by all the players and their willingness to get to Joburg for this match. It is very encouraging,” said Mosimane.
Mosimane is using this friendly to prepare for the opening 2010 African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier at home to Niger next month.
“On paper Ghana are better than Niger, so Ghana will provide us with the ideal test. It is important to win, but at the same time I will be making lots of changes and looking at as many players as possible.
"Performance will be important bit so is a good result. I realise we are in pre-season but this game will be good for the players and show me where we are going.”
Mosimane faces a headache of who he will field at the heart of his defence, having selected four players for the central defensive positions in captain Aaron Mokoena, Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni and Bevan Fransman.
“I want to look at all four if possible. I will give Mokoena and Sangweni 45 minutes. I need to have a longer look at Gould who missed the World Cup due to injury and is now full fit and needs to get a chance to reclaim his place."
Gould’s injury opened the door for his SuperSport United captain Bongani Khumalo at the World Cup. Khumalo replaced Gould in the World Cup squad and played every minute of Bafana’s three matches and shone.
Ironically, Khumalo is now injured and misses the Ghana showdown, which will allow Gould to stake his claim for a starting place against Niger.
There is only one doubtful starter in 20-year-old midfielder Andile Jali. The promising Orlando Pirates star replaced injured English based Kagisho Dikgacoi at the weekend, but Jali suffered an ankle injury during Bucs 1-0 Telkom Charity Cup win over AmaZulu at Soccer City on Saturday.
Said Bafana team doctor Ephraim Nematswerani: “We are waiting from the results of a scan on his ankle.”
If he is ruled out, it is unlikely that Mosimane will call up a replacement.
Meanwhile Mosimane said the door had not been closed on any players, including English based striker Benni McCarthy who was excluded from thre World Cup squad due to being overweight and out of condition.
“If I need a player such as McCarthy and I believe he can do a job for me, then why not select him? But having said that, I have to think ahead to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"I will use older players (such as 32-year-old McCarthy) only if I believe they can help us qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup. But I am not closing any doors on any player.”