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15 Jan 2008 16:52
With all the tension and trauma surrounding Bafana Bafana’s forthcoming test of strength in the African Cup of Nations, the man in the middle of the cauldron of emotions displayed his usual cool and composed demeanour on Tuesday.
And Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira believes his Bafana squad are on course for their acid test in Ghana as they approach the final warm-up game against Botswana at Durban’s Chatsworth Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 5pm).
Parreira expressed satisfaction with the team that shaded Mozambique 2-0 at the same venue on Saturday and indicated there would be a minimum number of changes in the line-up for the Botswana encounter.
“This is no time to experiment,” said the Bafana coach. “I believe we are now well positioned for the opening Nations Cup game against Angola next Wednesday and there are only a few loose ends to tie up in our final preparations.”
Parreira is expected to persist with the innovation of utilising Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena as a holding midfield player instead of his usual position as a central defender—with Sundowns iron man Benson Mohlongo partnering Nasief Morris as the central defensive team.
Parreira, however, was loathe to confirm whether he would utilise one or two strikers in the starting line-up against Botswana, with Bafana employing either a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 formation.
And while most of the attention in this game will focus on Bafana and how they shape in this final dress rehearsal for the Nations Cup, Botswana team manager Tshepo Mphukutshi has proclaimed that the much-improved Zebras, as Botswana are known, are “going all out for a victory”.
“We watched Bafana during the game against Mozambique,” added the Botswana manager, “and we are not intimidated in the least by their performance.”
Botswana are also viewing the Bafana game as a revealing test for forthcoming 2010 World Cup qualifying games and believe a satisfactory performance at Chatsworth will be a valuable morale-booster.—Sapa
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