Johannesburg – Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund says he will field his strongest available team against Spain at FNB Stadium on November 19.
Before the SA Football Association clinched the prized encounter against the world champions, Igesund hinted he would focus attention on the hosting of Caf's Championship of African Nations (Chan) tournament in January, for which only players based in their own country are eligible.
“Playing against Spain changes everything,” Igesund said on Thursday.
“It's tough enough against a side of the calibre of the world champions with all your available resources. But, in addition, apart from the obviously valuable team-building opportunity that the Chan tournament provides, there are more important events like the next Caf Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco (2015) and, further down the line, the 2018 World Cup to think about.
“What better way to discover where we stand right now than a match against the world champions?”
High on the list of players Igesund is likely to name to face Spain will be Dean Furman and Bongani Khumalo (both playing for Doncaster Rovers), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace), Tokelo Rantie (Bournemouth), Daylon Claasen (Lech Poznan, Poland), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium).
Igesund will also consider a number of Orlando Pirates players for selection, whatever the outcome of their completed two-legged Caf Champions League Final against Egypt's Al-Ahly.
“The last time we played Spain in the third-place game during the 2010 Confederation Cup we gave them quite a fright and they had to battle all the way to secure a victory,” Igesund said.
“We've managed to extend the world champions on all three occasions we have met and I'm hoping we will do so again in front of what I hope will be massive home support.”
While Spain still had to finalise the squad to face Bafana, it was expected to include most of their renowned world stars. – Sapa