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Football | Bafana Bafana

Siboniso Gaxa, Simphiwe Tshabalala, Oupa Manyisa and Itumeleng Khune © Backpagepix

Bafana ready to take on Malawi



Bafana Bafana have arrived in Durban ahead of their international friendly match against Malawi at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday. The match kicks off at 5pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The South Africans landed in Durban on Thursday morning to a warm welcome from a group of traditional Zulu dancers at the King Zwelithini International Airport.

They had their first training session at People’s Parks in the afternoon, with the final one scheduled for Friday morning at the match venue.

All 23 players have reported for duty with the exception of Belgium-based Ayanda Patosi who has been withdrawn from the squad due to club commitments.

“I have been given assurances by his club that Patosi will be here on the 27th December in time for the mini-training camp that will be held in Johannesburg from the 27th to the 30th of December.

“I have seen his video footage but I need to get a closer look at him in a game situation. I am not too worried though because I will assess him during next week’s training camp,” said Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund at a press conference in Durban.

Orlando Pirates defender Siyabonga Sangweni missed the afternoon’s training session after requesting leave of absence to sort out family matters at home. He is expected back in camp in the evening.

Also not training with the team was Kaizer Chiefs duo of Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker. Both were on the sidelines after being rested as a precautionary measure.

Igesund added that he had a good predicament as all players have shown huge appetite to go out there and represent their country at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

“I need to get the balance right for this match against Malawi which is the last one where I will be able to look at individual players.

“We want to win the match and I am happy the players have put their hands up that they want to be part of the Afcon 2013. This is good for me and my technical team and most importantly good for the country when we have such healthy competition for places. The critical question now is who to leave out,” added Igesund.

Malawi are already in Durban having arrived in the coastal city on Monday ahead of the Saturday encounter.

The Flames, coached by Kinnah Phiri, arrived with a 20-man squad, which boasts players like Robert Ng’ambi, Josephy Kamwendo, Atusaye Nyondo and Chiukepo Msowoya.

Meanwhile, tickets for the Bafana/Flames encounter are still available and members of the public are advised to purchase their tickets early. They can be acquired at Checkers, Shoprite/Checkers and Shoprite stores as well as Computicket outlets countrywide.

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