Johannesburg – Bafana Bafana are expecting to be given a solid test by minnows Lesotho this weekend, according to head coach Gordon Igesund, ahead of crucial World Cup qualifying matches.
South Africa will face their lowly hosts, 99 places below Bafana in the Fifa rankings, in a friendly international in Maseru on Sunday.
They will then travel to Cameroon to face Central African Republic, on neutral territory, and Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, in second-round Group A qualifiers.
“They (Lesotho) will give us a good game. They drew 1-1 with Zambia in their last game,” Igesund said after a training session in Germiston on Thursday.
“The game against Lesotho is one I'm very grateful for because we couldn't get any other opposition.
“The gap between countries has closed dramatically, and it's not important to just go out there and win, but to try out different combinations.”
While Igesund was facing a conundrum in his defence, with a number of players unavailable due to injuries, he was confident his strike force would do the job at the other end of the field.
“We haven't scored a lot of goals in the Premiership, but it's about the way you play and create chances,” he said.
“I don't think we will have a problem and I hope the ball bounces for us.”
Igesund also remained confident he would find the right combination in defence, despite five players – Siboniso Gaxa, Tsepo Masilela, Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni and Thabo Matlaba – unable to turn out for the national team.
“Certain players have never played together at all, but combinations were not bad in today's training.
“Of course we want to play well but I need to be sure of combinations at the back and all five guys can play at the back.
“The whole session today was for the defenders to see how they move and shuffle.”
The SA Football Association confirmed that Bafana would be without Sweden-based midfielder May Mahlangu and striker Tokelo Rantie, as well Russia-based defender Siyanda Xulu, for the Lesotho clash.
Mahlangu and Rantie would be playing for their clubs on Saturday, while Xulu was a late call-up who replaced the injured Siboniso Gaxa in the squad.
The trio were expected in South Africa on Monday, in time to travel with the national team to Cameroon. – Sapa