South Africa held their first training session of the mini-training camp on Sunday, 28 December. The session took place at the AW Muller Stadium, University of Johannesburg with 27 players taking part in the training session where they played a match among themselves. All the players already in camp are locally-based.
Bafana Bafana are in camp ahead of the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015 tournament which starts next month (17 January – 8 February 2015). The training camp started on Friday. “It’s going to be tough to select the final 23 players. If you look at the players in camp, the bulk of them are the ones who helped us during the qualifiers and none of them want to remain behind when we go to the AFCON. But from the training session this morning, there is a bit of lethargicness on their performance, they were not as vibrant as one would have expected. But I think the second training session will be better than this one. It is going to be tough, even if we didn’t see much this morning, you can see that every player wants to be part of the final squad,” said Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba.
The remaining players, all overseas-based are expected to start arriving today (Sunday, 28 December), with Dean Furman the last player expected to land on Sunday, 4 January 2015. “It is not a problem as such, but we would have loved for everybody to come and compete for a position. We don’t want people to come here guaranteed of a place in the team but unfortunately it is not in our hands, they have programmes that they need to complete at their clubs before coming to the national team. Due to the FIFA dates there is nothing we can do, we must just wait for them to arrive and take it from there. We shouldn’t really worry about something beyond our control as we are all guided by rules,” added Mashaba. The Bafana Bafana mentor will trim his squad down to 23 players on Tuesday, 30 December at the SAB World of Beer in Newtown, Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, South Africa will take on Zambia in an international friendly match that will be used as one of the warm-up matches for AFCON 2015. The clash will take place on Sunday, 4 January 2015 at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Kick-off is at 15:00.
The match will also be used to showcase Bafana Bafana’s new jersey, as it will be the first time they play in the kit, and also to bid Mashaba’s men farewell as they head to Equatorial Guinea. Tickets are still available at Computicket outlets, as well as Shoprite, Checkers and Shoprite/Checkers stores countrywide. They are going for R50 (fifty rand) all round in the stands.