Bafana face Gabon challenge

2012-06-14 10:24

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana will be hoping to finally bring an end to their winless streak when they take on Gabon in an international friendly in Nelspruit on Friday evening.

South Africa have not won any of their last eight matches, most recently drawing 1-1 against Ethiopia and then Botswana in their two opening 2014 Soccer World Cup qualifiers this month.

Interim coach Steve Komphela now faces another staunch test in the form of the Panthers, who won one and drew one of their two opening qualifiers, while they also sit a whopping 20 places higher than Bafana in FIFA's world rankings.

The match should also mark Komphela's last involvement as caretaker coach, with the Free State Stars tactician set to join four other candidates this week in an interview process for the full-time position.

In team news, Komphela has already trimmed his squad down significantly following the first two World Cup qualifiers, with captain Steven Pienaar, Katlego Mphela, Oupa Manyisa, Thanduyise Khuboni and Bongani Khumalo all having been sent home.

Gabon, meanwhile, are expected to field a mix of youth and experience, with coach Paulo Duarte set to use the encounter as preparation for their upcoming Olympic Games campaign.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Levy Madinda and Bruno Zita Mbangoye, all part of the Panthers team that reached the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final, are set to start.

Duarte's previous encounter against South Africa was during his reign as Burkina Faso coach in August last year, a game that ended 3-0 to Bafana - the last time the team recorded a victory.