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Bafana call on spirit of 1976

2010-06-16 15:49
Johannesburg - June 16 is one of the most iconic days in South Africa's history. Today, the South African football team will aim to honour the occasion when they take on Uruguay.

The date marks the 1976 Soweto uprising against the Apartheid government and Bafana Bafana will call on the spirit of those turbulent times as they prepare a for crucial Soccer World Cup Group A match-up against the South Americans.

The team's captain, Aaron Mokoena, is expecting a "momentous day" and believes the partisan Loftus crowd will help Bafana.

"It is great having home advantage and knowing that the people are behind the team," he said.

The 2010 hosts drew their opening game against Mexico and as France and Uruguay also played to a stalemate, the victor on Youth Day will assume control of the group.

Star midfielder Steven Pienaar is aware of the historical significance of June 16.

He said: "It is a big day in South African history, and we as players want to beat Uruguay and take a step closer to reaching the knockout phase and thereby making it a double celebration for South Africa."

On the footballing front, both Mokoena and coach Carlos Alberto Parreira have identified Diego Forlan as the dangerman.

"We are aware Uruguay are very experienced and have Forlan in attack. We will be ready and on our toes," said Mbazo.

"Forlan scored many goals against Brazil. Forlan is on top of his game. He is in the best shape of his life and comes into the World Cup as the leading goals scorer with his club and with a Europa Cup winners medal. We have to contain him for 90 minutes to win," explained Parreira.

With the entire nation behind Bafana Bafana, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez knows his charges are in for a difficult test.

"Our next match requires a new dimension," he said.

Speculation is rife Tabarez will change his approach and possibly drop Luis Suárez while Parreira has also said he will tinker with his line-up slightly with Tsepo Masilela expected to come in for Lucas Thwala at left-back.

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