Johannesburg – Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund believes his side will be ready to take on reigning African champions Zambia, despite having the full squad together for only one training session ahead of the Nelson Mandela Challenge at FNB Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The national side assembled in Johannesburg on Sunday evening, with Bongani Khumalo and Anele Ngcongca joining the team late Monday afternoon, to complete Igesund's squad ahead of the one-off clash.
“It's certainly not a surprise to us,” Igesund said on Monday.
“We are always aware of the situation that the players coming from overseas are going to come late.
“The players have had a tough weekend – some have played three games in a week – so I couldn't do anything with them this morning.
“On Tuesday I've got maybe an hour-and-a-half to prepare them for the match, but we'll be fine.”
Igesund added that he would be using the match to assess where his players were in their preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament starting in January.
“This is the type of game that we need,” Igesund said.
“I think we are much better than what we were a month ago, so I think it's a good game for us to have.
“They (Zambia) are a really good team, they are well organised and they have some useful players in the side.
“Win or lose, this game will give me a good indication where we are and how we are progressing.”
Zambia captain Christopher Katongo said after arriving in the country on Sunday that the hosts would be under pressure to beat the defending Afcon champions. Igesund, however, rubbished the statement.
“There is no pressure on Bafana to win a friendly match,” he said.
“The pressure is on Bafana to win Afcon. We are doing the preparations right now, so there is no pressure on the players. Tthey have to go out there and perform.
“They are professionals and they will do their job.” – Sapa