Bafana prepare for The Mambas

South Africa must overcome injuries and jet-lag as they prepare to face Mozambique in an international friendly at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Tuesday night.

It was an encouraging performance from the side in the first game in charge for new coach Gordon Igesund and at times they outplayed their more illustrious opponents.

They will now have just one training session on Monday before the meeting with The Mambas, where Igesund will assess his walking wounded.

Definitely out of the game are strikers Dino Ndlovu and Benni McCarthy, who were both injured in the first half against the Brazilians.

The latter faces six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, while Ndlovu has yet to learn the full extent of the damage done after he dislocated his shoulder after 33 minutes of his debut in a national team jersey.

The injuries to the pair were yet another bitter blow for Igesund, who had already lost Steven Pienaar, Siyabonga Nomvete, Edward Manqele and Anele Ngcongca to knocks before the team left for Brazil.

Igesund has confirmed that he will not make any additions to his squad ahead of the Mozambique game, meaning that it is likely that Bernard Parker and Thulani Serero will fill the forward positions. Lamontville Golden Arrows striker Thamsanqa Gabuza could then earn his first cap off the bench.
“It is sad that we have lost the two players but it is part of the game there’s not much we can do but wish them a speedy recovery,” Igesund said. “We have only one training session on Monday so it doesn’t help to bring in any replacements. The situation also gives me a chance to see and work with the players in the squad who did not get an opportunity against Brazil and I am confident they will raise their hands when given the opportunity.”
That means it is likely that Igesund will give a first cap to Feyenoord midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo, possibly as a replacement for Kagisho Dikgacoi, who has been released back to his English Championship club, Crystal Palace.
And there could be a first start too for Peterborough United's 18-year-old left-back Kgosi Ntlhe, who is tipped to be the long-term successor to Tsepo Masilela.

Moeneeb Josephs could return as goalkeeper in the place of Itumeleng Khune, while Bevan Fransman will expect to get a run at centre-back with either Siyabonga Sangweni or Bongani Khumalo dropping out.

What might be in the coaches mind too, is assessing who has handled the jet-lag the best, given that they arrived back in the country barely 48 hours before the game.

Conventional wisdom suggests that you need a day to recover from every hour time-zone that you pass through and the South Africans will be well short of that.

Their opponents Mozambique will have no such worries though their legs may be heavy from the excellent 2-0 victory secured over Morocco in their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Maputo on Sunday.

That Mambas win was inspired by Mamelodi Sundowns winger Elias Pelembe, who set up the first goal for former Platinum Stars fullback Almiro Lobo, and then scored the second.

He is without doubt the dangerman for the South Africans, though they will also be wary of attacking midfielder Eduardo Jumisse, who plays for Vaslui in Romania.

Bafana Bafana and Mozambique have met on just three previous occasions, with the South Africans victorious in all of those games, the last of which was a 2-0 friendly success in Durban before the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.