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International Friendly Preview: South Africa – Kenya

Date: Wednesday February 9, 2011 Time: 20:35

Venue: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Mbalula Magic to inspire Bafana Bafana

After being dropped in the last minute by Burkina Faso, South Africa managed to secure a friendly international against Kenya, who ironically also dropped Zambia at the last minute to face the 2010 World Cup hosts.

Pitso Mosimane’s men, who were ranked 66th shortly before the 2010 FIFA World Cup go into the match with their tails high after they moved four places up to 47 on the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World rankings. They also made similar strides on the continent, moving from the 12th spot to 8th position.

The country’s new Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula paid a surprise visit to the boys at their base camp to wish the team luck ahead of their friendly international against Kenya.

“I am here just to wish you guys well when you play Kenya tomorrow night, and I am looking forward to a very good match. I remember very well that in your last match against the USA in Cape Town you should have won, but I am almost certain that we have learned a lot from that encounter and against Kenya we will come out tops. I just hope South Africans will come in their numbers to support you. I wish you all of the best,” said Minister Mbalula.

The South Africans will be taking part in the friendly with their minds focused on the AFCON qualifying encounter with Egypt next month, and this match will be used to warm up and give the coach an indication of where his troops are in terms of their fitness and form.

Kenya aim for upset

Ranked 127 in the latest FIFA World Rankings, the Harambee Stars who are under the tutelage of coach Zedekiah "Zico"Otieno and his assistant Salim Ali, who will no doubt be looking to cause an upset.

Kenya has accepted to play South Africa in a friendly international at Rustenburg on Wednesday February 9 instead of hosting Zambia on the same day. The Zambia Football Association (FAZ) had already named a squad of 20 players, including 17 professionals, to start training for the proposed game in Nairobi, but Football Kenya Limited (FKL) called off the match in favour of South Africa.

The Kenya squad has a blend of youth and experience in their heavy artillery, promising youngsters Bob Mugalia (Sofapaka), Haevenar Maloba (Mathare United), Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Kevin Omondi (Gor Mahia), David Gateri (Nairobi City Stars) and Paul Were (Tusker) will be adding the youth element in the team to face Bafana.

Congolese-born striker Bob Mugalia, who switched nationalities later last year will be making his debut upfront, partnering Oliech and it promises to be a deadly combination that can unlock many defences on their day.

Kenya play against Angola in Nairobi on March 26 in their 2012 Africa Nations Cup qualifier, so this match will be an important test for their squad.

SQUADS

South Africa:

Goalkeepers: Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs)

Defenders: Bongani Khumalo (Tottenham Hotspur), Morgan Gould (SuperSport United), Mzivukile Tom (Golden Arrows), Rueben Cloete (Orlando Pirates), Siboniso Gaxa (Lierse SK), Anele Ngcongca (Genk), Innocent Mdledle (Mamelodi Sundowns), Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth), Siyabonga Sangweni (Golden Arrows)

Midfielders: Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs), Andile Jali (Orlando Pirates), Tlou Segolela (Orlando Pirates), Renielwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Thanduyise Khuboni (Golden Arrows), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham), Steven Pienaar (Tottenham), Daylon Claasen (Lierse SK), Sifiso Myeni (Wits)

Strikers: Thembinkosi Fanteni (Ajax Cape Town), Thulani Serero (Ajax Cape Town), Matthew Pattison (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bernard Parker (Panserraikos), David Somma (Leeds United).

Kenya Squad

Goalkeepers: Francis Ochieng (Ulinzi Stars), Jerim Onyango (Gor Mahia)

Defenders: Haevenar Maloba (Mathare United), David Otieno (Sony Sugar), Titus Wamalwa (Karuturi Sports), Jockins Atudo (Tusker), Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Llyod Wahome (Mathare United), Edgar Ochieng (Sofapaka)

Midfielders: Johanna Omollo (Fola, Luxembourg), David Gateri (Nairobi City Stars), Kevin Omondi (Gor Mahia), Collins Okoth (Gor Mahia), Anthony Kimani (Sofapaka), Victor Mugabe (Germinal Beerschot, Belgium), and Humphrey Mieno (Sofapaka)

Strikers: Dennis Oliech (AJ Auxerre), Bob Mugalia (Sofapaka), Paul Were (Tusker)

TEAM NEWS

South Africa

The good news is that Bafana Bafana vice captain Steven Pienaar, who was struggling with severe headaches has been declared fit to play against Kenya.

The only addition in the team is red hot Ajax Cape Town Striker Tembinkosi Fanteni who replaced Kermit Erasmus after the youngster withdrew from the squad due to a respiratory tract infection. Also out of this encounter is left back, Tsepo Masilela who is still going through rehabilitation after suffering a knee injury.

Orlando Pirates’ Ruben Cloete and Golden Arrow’s Mzuvukile Tom are all raising their hands for a run against Kenya on the left side of defence in place of Tsepo Masilela. Newcomer Sifiso Myeni will also be looking to make his debut for Bafana.

Kenya

Star striker Dennis Oliech and his Belgium based compatriot Victor Mugabe failed to travel as scheduled with the Kenyan Airways flight to South Africa, but they are expected to jet in on Wednesday morning.

According to media reports Oliech forgot his ticket in Amsterdam, Holland where he was to connect his flight to Nairobi and also visa hitches, which were later sorted out by the South African High Commission in Kenya.

The duo are reported to be in Nairobi and will be taking their flight to South Africa at 8pm.

Prediction

South Africa 2-0 Kenya 



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