SA take aim at Teranga Lions
Durban - South Africa begin preparations for the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with a friendly match against Senegal at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday night, kick-off at 20h35.
The Teranga Lions are a wounded side, having been knocked out of the recent 2012 AFCON in the group stages after three successive defeats to Zambia, Equatorial Guinea and Libya - this despite entering the tournament as one of the outright favourites.
However, they have some truly class players in their ranks and will provide Bafana Bafana with the kind of tough test that coach Pitso Mosimane is looking for as the national team enters a crucial period in the build-up to the next continental and World Cup finals.
“This match presents us with an opportunity to prepare well for the 2013 AFCON tournament which we are going to host. It’s important to play the likes of Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Zambia and Senegal,” said Mosimane upon naming his 23-man squad for the match.
“The challenge with playing these strong sides is that a win is not easily achieved but we gain lots of experience in preparation for AFCON 2013, unlike winning easily against a small team and learn little.”
Mosimane added, “It’s going to be a difficult match for us more so because we haven’t won for a while though we have drawn against some top sides on the continent. We want to win but it won’t be easy against the wounded Teranga Lions who have included other new players from Europe who were not part of the 2012 AFCON tournament.”
This will be the fifth meeting of the two teams and Bafana Bafana have yet to claim a victory against the West Africans. South Africa have twice hosted friendly matches against Senegal (both as part of the Nelson Mandela Challenge), in 2002 and 2005. On the former occasion the match ended 1-1 before Senegal won post match penalties, while in the latter case the Lions of Teranga won 3-2.
The teams met once in a friendly in Dakar in 2004 (won 2-1 by the home side) and their most recent clash – and only competitive one to date - came in the group phase of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana: the match ended 1-1, with Henri Camara and Elrio van Heerden scoring for Senegal and South Africa respectively.