Bafana open up their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign with a home encounter against Ethiopia's Black Lions
Gaxa, Gould, Khumalo, Masilela
Tshabalala, Pienaar, Khuboni, Mahlangu
Debebe, Abebaw, Hailu, Bogale
Mesud, Bekele, Tesfaye
Kebede, Fikru, Fekadu
South Africa welcome Ethiopia for a qualifier on the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Sunday afternoon, with the sides meeting at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg. This will be the first international for Bafana since February’s draw with Senegal in Durban, the latest in a series of disappointing results for Pitso Mosimane’s team.
Bafana will be the home team when the country hosts the 2013 Afcon at the beginning of next year, which means that the World Cup qualifiers will serve as valuable competitive matches due to the fact that they automatically qualify for the Afcon as hosts.
The Black Lions emerged from a play-off match against Somalia and thanks to their 5-0 aggregate win, they joined South Africa, Botswana and Central African Republic in Group A of the 2014 World Cup qualifying.
It is going to be a tall order for Ethiopian coach Sewnet Bishaw as his outfit gets set to battle it out with South Africa. Bishaw’s problems compound further as Bafana play at home. The Ethiopian coach said to reporters: “We know Bafana Bafana started their preparations with a full contingent of lots of players in a camp long before us, but we can’t forget that it will be 11 against 11 on the pitch."
South Africa have suffered a number of losses of personnel in the last few weeks, with injury downing Siyabonga Sangweni, Thulani Serero leaving camp following the death of his father, and Moeneeb Josephs announcing his sudden retirement from international football. Bafana are still the stronger side on paper, but Ethiopia have nothing to lose in Rustenburg on Sunday.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- South Africa were not present at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations tournament after they failed to qualify.
- Bafana will be the home team when the country hosts the 2013 Afcon in January next year, and they are expected to take part in a number of friendly international matches as a result of their open calendar.
- The South Africans are placed 67th in the Fifa rankings at this moment, having risen slightly in the past month after a number of months where they were in decline.
- Ethiopia are known as the Black Lions, and they beat Somalia 5-0 in a two-legged play-off to reach this phase of the qualification.
- The east Africans are currently placed 138th in the Fifa rankings, 71 spots behind their opponents.
- Ethiopia is a member of Cecafa, the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations.