Bafana Bafana

Erasmus could start for Bafana

2011-11-10 19:42
Kermit Erasmus (File)

Port Elizabeth - Kermit Erasmus is expected to make the starting line-up when Bafana Bafana take on the Ivory Coast in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

Erasmus, 21, is a scoring prodigy who has struggled for consistency and form in the last year, but remains highly rated by national coach Pitso Mosimane.

The former Feyernoord player has been preferred in what looked like Mosimane's starting eleven in most training sessions this week.

Erasmus said on Thursday saying he was looking forward to a possible first national start at the sold-out venue.

"I'm happy to be home and playing the highest ranked team in the continent in front of my home crowd. The weather is cool and overcast today, but hopefully it will be warmer on the weekend," he said.

"But for me, whether I play from the start or come on as a substitute, it remains an honour to play for my country."

He is one of two local-born players from the Windy City in the squad, another being Jomo Cosmos striker Siyabonga Nontshinga, who is in his first Bafana camp.

Eramus credits hard work and more game time this season, in comparison to last season at SuperSport United for his improved performance.

"My confidence is better now, and as a striker, that is what you need," he said.

"It's also to do with match fitness. I'm getting better, and starting more regularly and scoring goals.

"I'm looking to doing my part of the job. We have been working hard on composure and finishing at training this week, and hopefully, it won't be a problem on Saturday."

Judging by the team's late afternoon session at the World Cup venue on Thursday, Mosimane will likely prefer his tried and tested players for the match against the Ivorians - Africa's highest ranked nation.

In goal, the more experienced Moeneeb Josephs will possibly start ahead of talented Mamelodi Sundowns shot stopper, Wayne Sandilands in the absence of regular No 1, Itumeleng Khune.

Tsepo Masilela returns from injury to fill in the left-back void alongside Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni in central defence and Anele Ngcongca.

Captain and creative lynchpin Steven Pienaar, and Kagiso Dikgacoi return in the middle with Daylon Claasen - opted ahead of Thanduyise Khuboni and Reneilwe Letsholonyane - and Siphiwe Tshabalala completing the midfield.

This will be the most important area for the team, ensuring that they give sufficient supply to the forwards, Katlego Mphela and Erasmus.

The lack of goals was the one area hampering the team in their unsuccessful 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in the last year.

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