Platinum Stars to play Ghana

2011-12-31 13:15

Johannesburg - Platinum Stars coach Owen de Gama described it as "a chance of a lifetime" when he announced on Friday that his Premier League team would play the African Nations Cup-bound Ghana in a friendly fixture at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Stadium in Rustenburg on January 18.

"The Black Stars", who reached the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup and are one of the favourites for the AFCON, will be setting up a training camp in South Africa for the tournament that will be staged in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea from January 21. They meet Bafana Bafana in a warm-up international at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Stadium on January 15.

Also earmarking South Africa as the destination for their training camps for the AFCON are Southern African qualifiers Botswana and Zambia, who will face Bafana in another warm-up international at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on January 11.

Bafana, whose inglorious failure to qualify for the AFCON is now history, will prepare for crucial 2014 World Cup qualifying games next year by playing a series of friendly internationals and start the programme against AFCON co-hosts Equatorial Guinea in an away game on January 5.

With the PSL deciding to implement a controversial halt of Premier League fixtures for two months because of the AFCON, De Gama said the chance to cross swords with a team of Ghana's quality was both timely and invaluable for the players.

"There is a great deal we can learn from Ghana," said the Platinum Stars coach, "but we will go into the match not pulling any punches and we believe we will give them the tough kind of competition they want before they start their AFCON campaign."

Meanwhile, Platinum Stars' highly-regarded midfielder, Joseph Molangoane, who has reportedly drawn interest from current PSL log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns before next month's transfer window opens, instead raced at full speed into a speed trap near the Kranskop highway on Thursday and was arrested for driving his mini Cooper at a recorded 214kph in a 60kph.

Mongoane was taken into custody and then released on R2 000 bail pending a hearing for reckless driving on January 10.

"We've heard nothing official from Sundowns regarding their interest in Mongoane," said de Gama, "but there are stories circulating that they are talking to him without our permission. I don't believe in holding onto any player who is interested in moving, but there is a right way of handling these matters."

And, for sure, driving at 214kph an hour is not one of them.