By FOCUS REPORTER
BAFANA Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane believes that despite leaving some of the more experienced players out of the squad to play Zimbabwe, his side still has a chance of victory.
South Africa faces their neighbours in an international friendly match that will be played this evening at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare.
Bafana arrived in the capital on Sunday, just a day after holding Cote d’Ivoire to a one-all draw in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in Port Elizabeth.
Mosimane’s team will have a completely different starting line-up from the one that faced The Elephants after releasing nine players from the 28-man squad he announced almost two weeks ago.
“Eight of the players that are in this squad played against Cote d’Ivoire, even though some of them came in substitutes. We have three that are overseas-based (Daylon Claasen – Belgium; Bevan Fransman – Israel and Bradley Grobler – Turkey), which shows we also don’t want to underestimate Zimbabwe. And in any case we can’t take them lightly because 80 percent of their squad is based in South Africa and they are playing first team football. This is the kind of match which will have a great hype because the players know each other very well and would not want to lose to the other. This is a regional derby and the matches are always competitive, so we don’t expect anything less on Tuesday night,” said Mosimane.
South Africa is coming up against a man who also understands the PSL very well having played for Ajax Cape Town. Norman Mapeza is the coach of Zimbabwe and under his reign, the country has risen on the FIFA World Rankings to an impressive 74 after he found them on 166. On the continent they are ranked 17th. Mapeza also played his club football in Turkey for Galatasaray against South Africa stars Shoes Moshoeu, Steve Kompela, Maimane Phiri and Helman Mkhalele.
“This is going to be a very interesting match, and we all know how well South Africa has been doing under coach Mosimane, even though they failed to qualify for Afcon 2012. The two sets of players know each other which means both teams are at an advantage. Our advantage is that we are playing at home where we have done well in the past and we are hopeful that trend will continue. That South Africa left some of their regulars behind does not give us the edge as they still have quality side,” said Mapeza.
South Africa and Zimbabwe have met 11 times, with the hosts winning four and Bafana Bafana six, while the other one was drawn.