Bafana Bafana's preparations on track ahead of Confeds Cup

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana's preparations for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup are on track, says national team spokesperson, Matlhomola Morake.

Speaking to BuaNews on Tuesday, Mr Morake said despite not having all the players in the camp, Coach Joel Santana has been impressed with the progress at the training sessions.

"This morning, coach Santana affirmed that everything was on track regarding the preparations for the forthcoming Confederations Cup, although some of the overseas based players have not yet arrived," he said.

The national team, currently dominated by locally based players, started its training camp on 13 May with higher intensity physical training sessions and this week, the team will focus on tactical training.

"Since all the physical preparations are over; the concentration will be on the tactical aspect of the game and that is what our coach will be focusing on in the next two weeks before the tournament," the spokesperson said.

On Saturday, Bafana Bafana is playing against Mauritius in a training match, Mr Morake said, adding that the coach will use this match to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the team as well as individual players.

Regarding the team's poor scoring ability, Mr Morake said the coach has put this as one of his top priorities.

"The coach has been working accordingly with strikers because he has identified that the striking force is not consistent and there have been problems with scoring goals.

"The technical team has also been working hard with the team's last wall (defence) and the goalkeeping side to ensure that the both sides are fully prepared," he said.

He further told BuaNews that four overseas based players have joined Bafana Bafana's training camp, including Belgium based Masilo Modubi, Elrio van Heerden, German-Based Rowen Fernandez and national team captain Aaron Mokoena who plays for Portsmouth FC in England.

Mr Morake said by 1 June everyone should be on the camp to start the full preparations for the tournament before the coach cuts his squad on 4 June to 23 players which will make up the final squad to represent South Africa in the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Mr Santana's troops are anticipated to show the world their strengths during the much-awaited opening match against Asian Champions, Iraq, on 14 June at Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg.

However, ahead of the main tournament Bafana Bafana will play against the European side, Poland on 6 June in an international friendly match where Coach Santana is expected to utilise the game as the final tool to sharpen his troops.

"Coach Santana has been studying Poland on tapes and identified that the players are physical and aggressive on the pitch whereas Bafana likes to keep the ball and play short passes," he said, adding that it was going to be an interesting but also difficult match.

"This is a very important game as it is the last before the FIFA Confederations Cup and coach will use it to finally identify where the team lack and work on the outcomes," Mr Morake said.

Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana has been stricken by injuries, with the latest being Mamelodi Sundowns striker Surprise Moriri who sustained a knee injury during the eleven-against-eleven training match at the weekend.

Last week, Orlando Pirate defender and 2008/09 Premiership Player of the Season award winner, Lucas Thwala was also ruled out after a groin injury. Both Moriri and Thwala will not be able to participate in the Confederations Cup.