Sydney - Bafana Bafana midfielder Thulani Serero says South Africa will be out to rain on Australia’s farewell parade when the teams clash in an international friendly in Sydney on Monday evening.
The game will serve as Australia’s final game before their 23-man squad, which is still to be whittled down from its current 30, depart for the World Cup in Brazil, just 18 days away.
Australia play their first match against Chile on June 13, while defending champions Spain and 2010 runners-up, the Netherlands, make up the rest of a stellar Group B, with Australia already given little to no chance of advancing past the group stages.
The 23-year-old Ajax Amsterdam playmaker is South Africa’s headline act for the games against Australia and New Zealand, four days later, following a hugely successful third season with the Dutch club, who celebrated winning their 33rd domestic league title earlier this month.
“We always want to win,” Serero said at a training session in Kogarah, a southern suburb of Sydney on Saturday evening (Australian time).
“We wouldn’t have travelled all this way for a loss or a draw.
“It means a lot to play for your country and I always want to win. Even if I play against a six-year-old at chess, I want to win.
“Every game, I try to do my best and I try to give as much as possible and that’s what I’ll do if I play on Monday.”
Serero was instrumental for the Dutch champions this season and played a major role in helping the country’s most successful club to yet another Dutch title.
With the season having reached its end, Serero said he was hoping to improve on a fairly successful campaign, feeling that he could have done better. He was hoping to up his ante ahead of the next season, starting with a solid performance for his national team.
“It went well but I’m not happy with it… I can be much better. I wasn’t happy with the season, but it was my first season as a regular,” Serero said.
“I was more worried about staying in the team and playing more games, so I think next season will be much better.”
Having come up against the Socceroos' duo of Tommy Oar and Jason Davidson in Holland, Serero said he was looking forward to meeting the two Aussies again on Monday, predicting a tough encounter against the pair.
“They’re very good players. I’ve played against them before and I had difficulties in the league in Holland against them, so Monday should be the same.”
Meanwhile, Anele Ngcongca, who plies his trade with Belgian outfit Racing Genk, had a similar warning for the Bafana camp when it came to goalkeeper Matthew Ryan, who had had a solid season with Club Brugge. He had stifled Ngcongca on a few occasions when two met in the Belgian top-flight.
“He’s a good goalkeeper, he’s got a good technique and he’s always mobile on the goal. He’s a goalkeeper who has lots of flexibility and he’s a good keeper,” Ngcongca said.
“I’m lucky that I’ve played against a goalkeeper like that. I played four games against him this season, so I think he’s one of the best goalkeepers in Belgium.”
Ticket sales for Monday’s friendly had already hit the 50 000 mark by Saturday afternoon, with 60 000 supporters expected to pack the ANZ Stadium, the multi-purpose venue built for the 2000 Olympic Games. - Sapa