Johannesburg - Pitso Mosimane wanted a challenge when he
was installed in the Bafana Bafana hotseat and is set to get just that
in his first test against Ghana.
Soccer City is expected to be packed on Wednesday night when the
Black Stars tackle South Africa in the first post-World Cup clash for
Milovan Rajevac's charges were Africa's finest representatives
at the showpiece - reaching the semi-finals of the tournament and
cruelly denied a spot in the next round thanks to Luis Suarez's
handball and Asamoah Gyan's subsequent missed penalty.
Local fans took a liking to Ghana, so much so that most are
planning to support both teams at the continent's largest sporting
Mosimane insists he is in a confident mood ahead of the
showdown, despite stating that the Black Stars would provide a true
reflection of how well Bafana have progressed.
"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," he said.
"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
Mosimane has kept the majority of Carlos Alberto Parreira's
World Cup 23, but Matthew Booth and Siyabonga Nomvete were overlooked,
while Bongani Khumalo and Lucas Thwala were omitted from the original
squad due to injury.
Kagisho Dikgacoi was forced to withdraw from the squad due to a
muscle tear in his right thigh and his replacement, Andile Jali will
also not be involved in the encounter due to an ankle injury.
Sthembiso Ngcobo, meanwhile, will be desperate to impress upon
earning a rare nod for the national team - especially after he went
AWOL after his first call-up.
Mosimane has revealed he is keen to look at all his options and
thus, we could see two different teams in both halves at Soccer City.
Ghana, meanwhile, were forced into a late change of their own as
striker Dominic Adiyiah (illness) was replaced by Ransford Osei.
Rajevac will have a strong squad at his disposal with only
heavyweights Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Stephen Appiah and John
Pantsil missing from the camp.
Fan favourites Kevin-Prince Boateng and Asamoah Gyan are
expected to start on Wednesday night, which should keep Itumeleng Khune
and Moeneeb Josephs busy in the Bafana goal.
Mosimane is eager to get his tenure off to a positive start and
what better team to win against than the side who captured Africa's
imagination in June and July.
The Black Stars of Ghana have kept their promise to South
Africa, bringing most of their World Cup stars here for Wednesday night's friendly at Soccer City.
Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando
Pirates), Siboniso Gaxa, Innocent Mdledle (both Mamelodi Sundowns),
Bevan Fransman (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi
Haifa, Israel), Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth, England), Morgan Gould
(SuperSport United), Anele Ngcongca (RC Genk, Belgium) and Siyabonga
Sangweni (Golden Arrows), Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane
(both Kaizer Chiefs), Daine Klate, Teko Modise (both Orlando Pirates),
Thanduyise Khuboni (Golden Arrows), Steven Pienaar (Everton, England),
MacBeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan, Russia) and Surprise Moriri (Mamelodi
Sundowns), Sthembiso Ngcobo (Kaizer Chiefs), Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi
Sundowns) and Bernard Parker (FC Twente, Holland).
Ghana squad: Richard Kingson (unattached), Daniel
Agyei (Liberty Professionals), Samuel Inkoom (Basel), Harrison Afful
(Esperance), John Mensah (Lyon), Lee Addy (Bechem Chelsea), Jonathan
Mensah (Granada), Anthony Annan (Rosenborg), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu
(Udinese), Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese), Andre Ayew (Marseille),
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Portsmouth), Cofie Bekoe (Petrojet), Bernard
Kumordzi (Panionios), Asamoah Gyan (Rennes), Ransford Osei (Twente),
Haminu Draman (Lokomotiv Moscow), Yaw Antwi (Vojvodina).