National team urged to impress at Confeds Cup

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Bathandwa Mbola

Johannesburg - With 45 days to go until the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off in South Africa, Bafana Bafana have been urged to train hard to impress the visiting teams.

The opening match will see South Africa up against Iraq, at Ellis Park.

Danny Jordaan, Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organising Committee, urged Bafana Bafana to shape up before the match as it would be disastrous if the national team did not make it to the semi-finals during the Confederations Cup.

He urged the team to use the Confederations Cup, which is largely seen as a dress rehearsal to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to show the world that we are ready to host the best event ever.

"The bottom line is that this is the only opportunity for Bafana to get competitive matches under their belts before they compete in the 2010 FIFA World Cup," said Dr Jordaan.

He said he was worried about how Bafana would advance against their Group A opponents which include top-ranked Spain, Iraq and New Zealand.

Dr Jordaan said Bafana's failure to qualify for the 2010 African Nations Cup had been a massive blow to South Africa's confidence on the team.

"The African Cup of Nations would have been the perfect preparation for the World Cup for Bafana," he said.

He pointed out that the other 31 countries that would compete alongside Bafana in the world's greatest soccer spectacle next year have gone through a tough qualifying programme to get there.

"We have one - and only one chance - to show what we are capable of doing in 2010 and that is the Confederations Cup. It is vital we do well and reach at least the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup otherwise it will be a disaster for our World Cup hopes," he said.

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