News24

Kolo wants Bafana scalp

2011-11-11 19:39

Port Elizabeth - Ivory Coast star defender Kolo Toure said that a historic first win over Bafana Bafana in the Nelson Mandela Challenge match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday would help in the team's preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in January and February.

Africa's highest ranked nation is yet to beat the South Africans in their three previous meetings, with Bafana winning one along with two draws since their first meeting in 1994.

"Been three games played and haven't won against them. I hope we will be able to enjoy a win in our preparations for the AFCON," said Toure, after the side's final training session on Friday afternoon.

"It's an important match for us as well because we are playing the match in support of Madiba. For us to be part of a game for him is a great honour."

Toure, 3O, who turns out for big spending Manchester City in England, is reviving his career after the disappointment of being banned for six months in March for substance usage.

The player allegedly used his wife's slimming pills in an attempt to shed some weight.

Earlier this week, reports from the UK say City fined him six weeks' wages for the ban that is said to be a record 720, 000.

"I've been out for three months and have a chance now to get back on field again to show fans I'm a good player," he said.

"Now I'm looking forward to playing for my country against a good Bafana side. We are going to go out there and enjoy ourselves."

The 1992 African champions are on a high again with a golden generation of players that include Toure and his brother Yaya, along with Salomon Kalou, Gervinho, Siaka Tiene and Didier Drogba.

Drogba is not part of the traveling party while Tiene -- a familiar face to South Africans, having had a successful stint with Mamelodi Sundowns in the Premier Soccer League before moving to France -- will most likely play despite knee injury concerns at training on Friday.

The Elephants have always been regarded as under-achievers despite the prodigious talent in their squad, especially since their poor display in last year's World Cup.

They will be favourites for the title in next year's continental showpiece in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, with Toure seeing a threat in Ghana, Tunisia and Senegal.

"We are lucky to be part of a great generation in Africa," he said.

"It's important for us to represent our country at the tournament. There has been a very difficult period in our country, and for us to win would be fantastic.

"There will be some other good countries who will try to win it like Morocco, Ghana, Tunisia and Senegal."

Ivory Coast will depart immediately after the match while Bafana travel to Harare to play Zimbabwe at Rufaro Stadium on Tuesday evening.

SAPA