Bafana to play Norway ahead of Afcon

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pretoria - Bafana Bafana will play Norway in an international friendly at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town on 8 January 2013.

South Africa last played against Norway in an international friendly match in March 2009 in Phokeng, near Rustenburg, in which Bafana emerged victorious with a score of 2-1.

Norway coach Egil Olsen said: "To play Bafana in South Africa in January is a good start to the 2013 year for us.

"We are preparing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers starting in March next year and we have a bunch of young players knocking on the door right now.

"We played South Africa prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and we unfortunately lost. I personally hope that this is not going to happen again."

Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund was equally excited about the match.

"Norway is a quality opponent and we are grateful that we get the chance to play them as we near the end of our preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament which will begin less than two weeks after the match.

"The exciting part about this clash, is that it affords me an opportunity to fine tune my final combination that will play in the tournament, so this will be a good test for us and will help us gauge our readiness," said Igesund.

Placed 26th on the FIFA World Rankings, the Scandinavians are expected to descend on the City of Cape Town in the midst of the summer tourism season.

Norway team manager Nils Johan Semb said: "South Africa is a perfect destination for these types of preparations and camps. Firstly, it is snowing and cold in Norway at this time of the year.

"Secondly, there is no time difference and the fact that the infrastructure, quality of the food and hospitality in South Africa is overwhelming is a huge plus for us."

Major events like the Bafana Bafana match are key levers in the City's strategic intent to continually grow the attractiveness of the region as a globally competitive tourism destination.

General Secretary of the Norway Football Federation, Kjetil Siem, said: "It's like a dream for me to bring the Norwegian national team to South Africa, in particular Cape Town.

"It is my second motherland and I really want to show our players, media and Norwegians the best of my favourite town on earth.

"We are bringing the whole management for a week as well and we will be training with Ajax Cape Town. I am really looking forward to this clash."

South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Dr Robin Petersen said: "We are indeed honoured to get the calibre of opponents like Norway as we prepare for Afcon.

"As Safa, we have always maintained that we will give our coach all the support he needs to do well in the tournament and this is testament to our promise. They are a top-ranked nation and should help us in our quest to succeed in the tournament."

The City is urging residents to come out in numbers and support Bafana as they play their penultimate match before their participation in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

Fans are also urged to give the national team a true Cape Town send-off in their goal to be Africa's Champions.

Tickets for this international spectacle range between R50 and R100.

Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, 20 November and will be available at all Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers and Shoprite/Checkers outlets across the country. - SAnews.gov.za

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