Bafana welcome champions
Cape Town - South Africa will continue their
preparation for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations when they take on reigning
continental champions Zambia in the Nelson Mandela
Challenge at Soccer City on
Kick-off is at 20:00.
This will be the 18th
edition of the NMC and is a repeat of the inaugural edition in 1994 when Bafana
Bafana defeated Zambia 2-1 at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.
teams have met no less than 14 times since South Africa’s readmission into the
international fold 20 years ago. Each side has claimed four wins against one
another, and there have been six draws. Chipolopolo have outscored Bafana 15
goals to 14.
With the Nations Cup on home soil
looming, Zambia, the tournament’s reigning champions after their triumph in
Gabon/Equatorial Guinea early in 2012, are the perfect opponents for coach
Gordon Igesund to test out his plans.
Chipolopolo, led by charismatic
French coach Herve Renard, are a highly-talented and well organised team, whose
experience of South African conditions (they often train in in the country,
while several of their national team players are on the books of PSL clubs)
puts them amongst the favourites for the 2013 AFCON title.
As for Bafana, they will be looking
to build on the momentum gained with a 2-1 away win over Kenya in Nairobi last
month. Igesund has a 100 percent record against African opponents in his short
tenure so far, and retaining that statistic will go a long way toward lifting
the confidence ahead of the big tournament next year.
Though Zambia have been regular
opponents for South Africa down the years, the teams have not met in more than
three years. A 1-0 friendly win for Bafana in January 2009 (courtesy of a goal
from Teko Modise
, who is part of the present squad) was the last meeting of the
Bafana have had to deal with some
injury problems in the build-up to the match, as Orlando Pirates duo Siyabonga
Sangweni and Oupa Manyisa have both been ruled out. Siboniso Gaxa of Kaizer
Chiefs was called up as a replacement for Sangweni.