Bafana to tackle Brazil with Spain victory in mind
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said on Monday his team would look to build on last year's performance against Spain when they welcome Brazil to the FNB Stadium in an international friendly on Wednesday evening.
"We want to put up a good performance. We're playing a very good team – five-time world champions," Igesund said in Johannesburg on Monday.
"I've got a squad of players which will be our national team moving forward. We're looking to pick up from where we left off. Everyone is fighting for places ... We've got a good idea of who will be playing for Brazil. I've got to keep referring to Spain. We played against the world champions and we dealt with them."
Bafana shocked Spain 1-0 in a friendly at the same venue in November last year and Igesund set his sights on a similar result against the world's ninth-ranked side.
Brazil have beaten Bafana in all four previous meetings, their last victory in Johannesburg coming in the 2009 Confederations Cup semi-final, where Dani Alves netted a superb 88th minute free-kick.
"In the 18 months that I've been in charge, the team has changed a lot," Igesund said. "If you look at our performances when I have the full squad, you will see they have the attitude, the passion and they want to die [for Bafana] out there."
'Put up a good showing'
The two teams last met in September 2012 in Sao Paulo, in what was Igesund's first game in charge of the national outfit. South Africa caused plenty of problems for their hosts before eventually going down 1-0, courtesy of Hulk's (Givanildo Vieira de Souza) second half strike.
"It's great for us to rub shoulders with the best," Igesund said. "Every game we play, we try to win. If we win this game, it will be absolutely outstanding. It's important we put up a good showing and play the football we want to be playing."
The hosts were dealt a serious blow with the news that goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune was ruled out of Wednesday's game with an injury.
Khune sprained his ankle warming up for club side Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday evening, where Amakhosi routed Mozambique's Liga Muculmana 4-0 in a Caf Champions League encounter.
The influential skipper failed to start the game and Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter confirmed afterwards that Khune would be out for at least 10 days.
"Itu reported to camp last night. He has been ruled out after been assessed by our doctors," Igesund confirmed. Defender Thabo Nthethe looks set to take over the captain's armband.
Having recently moved to the Mamelodi Sundowns – a team also known as the Brazilians – Nthethe spoke of his excitement facing a full-strength Brazilian side.
"Each player is going to be excited to play against Brazil. I'm hoping I will do well to make it into the starting 11," Nthethe said. "The players who are here know how Brazil play ... I've done a bit of homework so I know what to expect."
Meanwhile, Brazil's assistant coach Carlos Alberto Parreira returns to the country where he was once the national coach. He failed to guide hosts Bafana past the group stages at the 2010 World Cup. – Sapa