Mosimane to field youngsters
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)
Rustenburg - Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane hopes to field as many of his young players as possible in two practice matches this week.
South Africa face Zambia in Johannesburg on Wednesday and Ghana in Phokeng, outside Rustenburg, on Sunday.
Without full international status, after the SA Football Association downgraded both matches, the teams will be allowed to deviate from the standard rules of the game.
"If I play 10 (men) in the first half and 10 in the second half I will have achieved my objective," Mosimane said in Phokeng, where the depleted squad is in camp this week, on Tuesday.
"These boys are eager to play and they showed that against Equatorial Guinea."
Both matches this week will be used as warm-ups for the visitors ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon later this month.
Bafana, who played to a goalless draw against Equatorial Guinea in Bata last week, did not qualify for the continental tournament.
Mosimane said allowable changes to the format of a standard match would give all three teams the chance to experiment.
"We can play three halves or parts. We can even play 50 (minutes and) 50 (minutes)," he said.
"If there's a red card, we can just bring on someone in his place to make sure we play 11 against 11.
"We're training to see the depth of this team and to see what we have, so we will give everybody a chance to play."
The Bafana coach said the result was irrelevant as he sought to test combinations and find new talent.
"What I get out of this is I see depth and the opportunity to see these guys up close and there's always unbelievable talent."
It was important, Mosimane said, that the public understood the two matches did not carry international status.
"It is not a friendly (international) like against Equatorial Guinea," he said.
"We don't give caps - it's not a game where you play the national anthem."
Two of the young players in the squad, Ryan Chapman and George Maluleka, were relishing the chance to play for the national side, despite the status of the matches.
"Both teams are preparing for the AFCON and they need to get the teams ready, so it's going to be a tough one for us," said 23-year-old Maluleka.
"We'll just take it as any other game. We're just going to go out there and give it our all.
"The caps don't really matter. We're here to prove ourselves to the coach."
Chapman, 24, will hope to carry his goal-scoring form this season for Premiership club Bidvest Wits.
"It's going to be very difficult, but it's going to be a good opportunity," Chapman said.
South Africa are without a number of regular players. Morgan Gould, who captained the team against Equatorial Guinea, Bradley Grobler, Siboniso Gaxa and Daylon Claasen are back at their clubs, while Eric Mathoho was released for personal reasons.
They were replaced by Thami Sangweni, Thato Mokeke, Nhlanhla Vilakazi, Lehlohonolo Masalesa and Thabo Nthete.