Bafana's Burkina Faso friendly flirts with farce

The international friendly match between South Africa and Burkina Faso due to be played in Johannesburg is quickly turning into a farce.

With only fifteen Burkinabe players pitching up to take part in the friendly, and Bafana’s midfield looking rather sparse due to injuries, what could have been an exciting clash has morphed into a second-string scrap.

Burkina Faso’s coach Paulo Duarte confirmed on Wednesday morning that an additional five players had arrived to join the first ten players who touched down on Tuesday.

But out of the players now available for selection, only one player is a regular in the starting eleven for the Stallions.

Things aren’t necessarily all that better in Bafana’s camp either, as injuries have forced several fringe players into the starting line-up.

Even Steven’s out
Captain Steven Pienaar is only one of of several absentees in the midfield. He was ruled out of the clash over the weekend after limping off the field during Tottenham Hotspur’s friendly against Atletico Bilbao, marking

Kaizer Chiefs talisman Reneilwe Letsholonyane is in the middle of a five week layoff due to a knee injury and Kagisho Dikgacoi is stuck in London where he plies his trade for Crystal Palace after experiencing administrative problems with his visa and work permit.

South Africa’s defensive capabilities will also be stretched as Anele Ngcongca was also ruled out due to an injury sustained to his Achilles tendon and Bongani Khumalo is short on game time following his move on loan to Reading from Tottenham Hotspur in England.

Whomever coach Pitso Mosimane chooses in his final eleven, it may well be a chance for the likes of midfielders Thulani Serero and Oupa Manyisa along with novice defender Tebogo Langerman to step up to the plate and prove they can adequately fill the shoes of Pienaar and co.

The match will also be a chance for Bafana to prepare for the their next African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Niger on September 3rd as well as to rise up the Fifa rankings.

South Africa is ranked 49th in the world and 7th on the continent, compared to Burkina Faso, who are ranked 39th and 4th respectively.

The two have met in five previous competitive fixtures: One Afcon finals group match in 2002 and four World Cup qualifiers for the 2002 and 2006 tournaments.

Bafana have won two of those encounters and the Stallions one, with two draws in the mix.

This will be the first-ever friendly meeting between South Africa and Burkina Faso.

The match gets under way at 8pm and will be televised on SABC 1.

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend. Read more from Nickolaus Bauer

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