Johannesburg – Bafana Bafana skipper Bongani Khumalo says he is looking forward to a solid performance from his side when they take on Zambia in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.
“Obviously tomorrow's game is a good challenge for us, playing the champions of Africa,” Khumalo said after only taking part in half of Tuesday's training session.
“It's always good to come up against good teams and teams that have achieved.
South Africa take on the current African Cup of Nations champions, having beaten them 2-1 in the first ever Nelson Mandela Challenge match in 1994.
Khumalo flew in from Greece on Tuesday morning after doing duty for Greek outfit PAOK on the weekend, but said he would be ready for the fixture at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday.
“Everyone is looking forward to the game and personally, I've just arrived this morning, after playing on Sunday evening for my club,” he said.
“It was a late kick-off and a long journey but I should be okay.”
The former SuperSport United defender believed Zambia would be eager to prove themselves against their hosts, but added Bafana
were ready for their southern African counterparts.
“They are the champions, no matter who they call up, and they want to do well,” Khumalo said.
“They want to prove a point, so regardless of who they have, they will put up a fight.”
Meanwhile, Bafana coach Gordon Igesund admitted some squad members were still feeling the effects of a tough domestic campaign after playing three Premiership matches in six days.
“The players are looking a little jaded at the moment and I have to be very careful how much I do with them out here,” Igesund said.
“Some of the players are feeling the aches and pains. These guys have had a tough time and it's been difficult for them.”
Even though Igesund would only have the full squad for a single training session ahead of the match, the Bafana coach said the team would be fully prepared to take on the continental champions.
“It's obviously very difficult. You want to do in one training session what normally takes five or six sessions,” he said.
“I tried to do a little bit of everything – some pressing, closing down, squeezing and counter-attacking.
“It's difficult and I let Bongani do only half the training after he only arrived this morning, but it's part of being in the national team.” – Sapa