SA's Confed plans unveiled
SA coach Joel Santana (File)
Johannesburg - Locally based players will get a last chance to impress Bafana Bafana head coach Joel Santana ahead of June's Confederations Cup when he announced that he will hold a camp for Premier Soccer League players starting on May 13 in Johannesburg after the end of the PSL season.
The camp was confirmed by Bafana team manager Sipho Nkumane on Tuesday. "The coach is still finalising how many players will be called up before the overseas based players officially join the camp on June 1. The plan is to analyse the local players and play a couple of friendly games in May," said Nkumane.
The locally based players will play a PSL First Division club, still to be named, at their training base which will be at the Johannesburg of Education grounds on May 23.
Said Nkumane: "The idea is to give the players a run out in a practice game against lower league opposition in order for the players to get a workout and that it will not be as taxing but will give the coach a chance to have a good look at players and work on his technical plans."
A week later, on May 30, one of Mauritius, Seychelles or Madagascar will play the locally based teams also at JSE. Said Nkumane: "No caps will be awarded for this game either as it is also part of the coach's training programme and a training match. We are still finalising which of the three island countries will be available and we will announce the opponents shortly."
The overseas based players will officially join the camp on June 1 as per the FIFA regulations but, added Nkumane: "FIFA rules state that players only have to join camp 14 days before an official FIFA tournament.
But some leagues will finish earlier and we expect players to start arriving from Europe from May 15."
Santana said he had his Confederations Cup squad 80 per cent finalised. This camp gives those on the fringe a last chance to catch Santana's eye. He has already make up his mind on the majority of overseas based players whom he will call up.
The big question mark hangs over Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy who failed to honour his call up in the recent friendly matches against Norway and Portugal claiming an injury.
However, McCarthy showed no signs of injury when he played for his English Premiership club at the weekend and scored in their 2-1 home win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Bafana will play their final warm-up friendly when they host Poland at the Orlando Stadium on June 6. As this is a full international, caps will be awarded. Santana is likely to show his hand against Poland which is his last chance to correct mistakes before the start of the competition on June 14 which is regarded by FIFA as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup finals next year.
Bafana kick-off the Confederations Cup when they host Asian champions Iraq at Ellis Park on June 14.