Herzogenaurach - The Bafana Bafana training camp in Germany kicked off in earnest on Wednesday with the players taken through their paces starting off in the gymnasium in the morning and then finishing off on the field in the afternoon.
Bafana camp gets underway
GALLERY: Bafana hit the gym
The squad is based at the adidas headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany and will be there until the 30th of this month.
"On the first day we don’t start too strong because the main idea is for players to adapt to the routine. But what’s happening here in Germany is the continuation of our work in Brazil where we started with basic training. This time around in Germany we are increasing the intensity and the volume of our work because we need to see some progress, we are also working on the speed. We have a short time here in Germany so everybody needs to work hard until the start of the tournament. But at the same time we can’t push them too hard because we want them to peak at the right time," said physical trainer Francisco Gonzalez, who led the gym session.
Of the 25 players in camp, only two are new in camp - Siyabonga Nomvete and Katlego Mashego, but Gonzalez is not fazed about their level of fitness.
“The two players are doing well because they are in good condition. I spoke to the Moroka Swallows physical trainer and he told me that Nomvete was working very hard so they are both in good shape. Fitness is now crucial in the sport because modern football demands a lot out of the players. Previously skill alone and technique was enough to make one a good player, but now a player needs to be thoroughly prepared in terms of fitness because if you are not fit enough, you stand no chance on the field,” added Gonzalez.
Meanwhile Mashego was part of the Bafana Bafana set-up during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, but has been in and out of the squad over the past few months. He also missed last month’s training camp in Brazil.
“I never felt left out in anyway, the coach did what he had to do. I am just glad I am back in the national team and will do my best to stay for the final team. Everybody who is here wants to be in that team and I m no different, I just have to work as hard as everyone else and we will see what happens. And in terms of fitness I am not far off the mark because when the national team was in Brazil we were also playing and training at our clubs, so my level of fitness is not an issue,” said Mashego.
Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune remains focused and working hard in preparation for the biggest single sporting event in the world, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“I m working hard just like any other player who wants to be in the squad. The competition in the national team is very high as I am competing with two very good players - Shu-Aib Walters and Moeneeb Josephs. What makes the challenge even more exciting is that we are all in great shape as we were all in Brazil for the training camp. So the fact is that there is no time to relax, more so because there are also other good goalkeepers who have been left out of this training camp,” said Khune.
As for the chilly weather, Khune believes it’s ideal for preparations,” well let’s look at it as our way of acclimatising to the cold conditions that we will come across during the World Cup in June, so there is really nothing to worry about,” said the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper.
Daylon Claasens (Gallo Images)