McCarthy hopes for good show

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IOL pic sep6 soccer benni mccarthy Gallo Images (File image) Benni McCarthy

Johannesburg - Veteran Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy said his side would have to be at their best when they take on Brazil in Sao Paulo on Friday night in an international friendly.

The five-time World Cup winners will present a stern test for a different group of South African players, in new coach Gordon Igesund's first game in charge of the national team.

“We are playing probably the best team in the world, so we have to be at our best,” said McCarthy on Wednesday.

“The strategy by the new coach has been used effectively at Swallows, and hopefully it will work well again.”

McCarthy was a late replacement for the injured Edward Manqele, who had in turn replaced the injured Siyabonga Nomvethe.

“I am happy to be back in the national team. I missed out on the World Cup and it was a bitter pill to swallow, but it's all behind me now. I have been given a second chance and I hope to make the best of it.”

The squad has just five players remaining from the side that played against Brazil, in the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup at Ellis Park stadium, which the hosts lost 1-0. The players in that team are Kagisho Dikgacoi, Itumeleng Khune, Bernard Parker, Siboniso Gaxa, and Siphiwe Tshabalala.

Tshabalala said the game will show where Bafana need to improve.

“We are aware this will not be an easy match and this should be a good test for all of us,” said Tshabalala.

“We are working towards the 2013 Afcon tournament and the clash against Brazil will give us an indication of where we are.

“We have played three times against Brazil and we have learnt a lot from those matches, especially the last one where we lost narrowly through lack of experience.

“But I have great belief that this time around we will do better, not taking anything away from our opponents who are a formidable team.”

The squad will have their last training session on Thursday morning at the match venue. - Sapa


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