Bafana Bafana ready for Samba Kings - Coach Santana

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana is ready to face Brazil in the much anticipated FIFA Confederations Cup semifinals, says the national team Coach, Joel Santana.

Addressing reporters on Wednesday in Johannesburg, Coach Santana said the players were looking forward to the game and they were prepared to put on a spectacular show as they clash against the world's football giants.

"Preparations for the game are proceeding calmly and smoothly. We know we have a tremendous responsibility on our shoulders but we are calm and optimistic.

"We have finished our tactical training session and we are prepared to face Brazil," said Santana's interpreter on behalf of the Coach, who will also be facing his own country.

He affirmed that although it will be a difficult task to play against the Samba Kings, he is looking forward to play against his country and play for a win.

Coach Santana who has been criticised recently for playing a defensive formation, said the team will be playing an attacking formation against Brazil and will approach a simply style and match the Brazilian team.

The Bafana Bafana mentor added that defending is not his style, and he cannot defend for 90 minutes while the nation is expecting positive results, adding that he is satisfied with the current performance.

He confirmed that players are confident and optimistic, adding that though the South American side has quality players, the South African side is not intimidated and will prove that this evening.

"We will be serious on our approach, and not be too aggressive. Players will employ our unique tactical approach, absorb the pressure and exploit the opportunities properly," he said.

Asked whether Bafana Bafana defence is ready to stop the likes of Kaka and Robinho, the Brazilian coach said his defenders are aware of these players and are confident and prepared to frustrate them, as they did to Spain's Fernando Torres.

There have been reports that South Africa's striker Bernard Parker will not feature in tonight's fixture after he suffered a serious knee injury at the training session.

However, Coach Santana said those are media speculations, confirming that the goal poacher has suffered a minor injury and doctors promised that the player will be ready for the match.

Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana players and technical team visited the former President Nelson Mandela at his residence in Johannesburg yesterday possibly to ask for "Madiba Magic".

The team's Captain Aaron Mokoena told reporters that the world's much-admired Madiba had confidence in Bafana Bafana and has told the players to make the nation proud.

"His best wishes have boosted all the players' confidence and we are looking forward and prepared to play Brazil and fight until the full time whistle.

"It's going to be a tough game playing against the giants but we will play according to our coach's approach and all players are prepared to die on the pitch for a win," he said.

He said players have been waiting for this opportunity and now Ke Nako (the time has come) to deliver and play more tactical football.

South Africa will play against the Samba Kings without the experienced vital defensive midfielder Macbeth Sibaya who was suspended after receiving two yellow cards.

The match to be played in Ellis Park in Johannesburg will kick-off at 8:30pm and will be broadcasted live on SABC 1 and on all SABC radio stations.