Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane believes closer co-operation will ensure they are prepared for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Mosimane travelled to Equatorial Guinea without his regular players, after he was forced to change his personnel following the withdrawal of players from Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows.
South Africa played to a goalless draw against Equatorial Guinea in a match where the head coach had five uncapped players in the starting line-up. He gave three more their first Bafana Bafana caps in the second half.
This week he was forced to add five more players after five others had to return to their clubs.
"We need to look at how serious we all are about preparing Bafana Bafana for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament that we are hosting, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers that start in June.
"We need a collective effort to ensure this team is ready for any challenge it comes across, we need more time to prepare. Some say we have better facilities than any country on the continent, but the fact is those facilities can only work to our advantage if we have time to use them, and at the moment we don't have.
"On the other hand players are being withdrawn from the squad to go train with their clubs, when they could continue with us here and join their clubs later. The fact is that clubs have the right to do so, but we need to have one objective, to be patriotic and remember that the national team is priority," Mosimane said.
On the upcoming practice matches against Zambia and Ghana, Mosimane says he takes them very seriously, as do the players.
"We are playing two great sides who have their full squads in camp, so it's going to be a very good test for my young players, most of whom haven't tasted international football. While they (Zambia and Ghana) are preparing for the 2012 AFCON, I would like to see how much depth we have in South Africa. We have quality players, but it would be good to see how they fare against these stars."
Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane will captain the side in the two matches.
Letsholonyane said: "I think these youngsters did well in Equatorial Guinea under trying circumstances. We did not play our normal game because we had some new players in the side.
"As for the Zambia and Ghana clashes, it won't be easy, but we will do everything we can to get a positive result. This is another opportunity for the newcomers to show what they have and get a taste of playing at the highest level.
"It's a chance to show the talent South Africa has."
Bafana Bafana face Zambia on January 11 at the Rand Stadium, Johannesburg starting at 16:30, and then take on Ghana four days later at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng near Rustenburg at 16:00.