By Fred Maingi
SOUTH Africa’s bafana bafana will largely be using tomorrow’s friendly against Harambee Stars to build a future team for the Africa Cup of Nations.
During a press briefing held on Monday in Nairobi, The team’s coach Gordon Igesund said he was targeting a squad of 23 players who can successfully challenge for honors in the Cup of Nations and World in the event they qualify for both.
‘’The fact that South Africa will host the 2013 Cup of Nations gives credence for me to mould a formidable team to win the title at home soil. We are not playing Kenya to improve on our Fifa rankings but rather to get the right combinations ahead of big time events. I want to look at all my players with the bigger picture of ascertaining who fits in which position’’ said the extrovert tactician.
Igesund was frank enough to point out that the absence of retired captain Steven Pienaar and Benny Maccarthy is a huge blow to the team but nonetheless averred that the team has to move on even without the two.
‘’Somebody like Pienaar has been the pillar of the national team having served it diligently for a decade. We have to respect his decision to retire in the team however much we needed him in the team,” he said.
He came short of rating Kenya for the simple reason that they have a new coach and several new players as well.
“I respect Kenya but cannot at this point in time gauge their capability. Kenya will be worthy opponents for us in our quest to rectify our weaknesses. The only thing I can say is that I expect a highly tactical game from both sides,” Ingesud told a battery of journalists in Nairobi.
In the meantime, the South Africans raised a red flag over the bumpy Nyayo Stadium pitch and which resulted into one of their players twisting his leg during Monday’s training session.
The visitors particularly raised concern over the potholes at either goalmouth of the pitch and which they want filled before Tuesday’s match.
Reached for comment, ground supervisor Francis Ogutu said work to repair the damaged sections was to begin last evening and assured the visitors that all would be well before the match.
In a related development, Langata Police have assured fans that there will be elaborate security in and outside the stadium.
Speaking to our writer, Langata Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) Shem Muganda said there will be enough security on the ground to deal with any cases of lawlessness and urged fans not to shy from attending the match