Bafana's Japan clash moved
Carlos Alberto Parreira (File)
Johannesburg - The South African Football Association are playing musical chairs with the venue for next Saturday's friendly international between Bafana Bafana and Japan.
On Wednesday Bafana team manager Sipho Nkumane, confirmed the match venue had been moved for the fourth time. It will now be played at the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Originally the match was scheduled for the new Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. That venue was scrapped when it could not be guaranteed that the venue would be ready in time.
That venue is one of the new stadiums built for the World Cup finals and is only expected to be completed in December.
Then the venue was moved to Orlando Stadium, but last week SAFA decided to move it to the nearby Rand Stadium in the south of Johannesburg the pitch was not up to standard for an international match.
Both the Orlando and the Rand Stadium's have undergone major renovations and will be utilised as training venues for the 2010 World Cup finals next June.
In a short statement SAFA CEO Raymond Hack said the decision to move the friendly to Port Elizabeth was due to the Association’s new approach to play all international matches at World Cup venues leading to the 2010 showpiece.
There have been rumours Japan insisted on playing this friendly - the first time the teams will meet – at a World Cup venue as Japan have already qualified for the finals.
The PE venue has been built especially to host the 2010 World Cup.
Meanwhile Nkumane said new Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, could be present when the squad is announced to play Japan and Jamaica in Bloemfontein, on Thursday.
But, added Nkumane: “If Parreira attends the announcement he will not be discussing the squad. He will hold a press conference in Johannesburg on Friday morning where he will address the media on his plans for Bafana and the World Cup.
Parreira was named as Bafana coach last month to replace fellow Brazilian Joel Santana who quit after a string of poor results.