Cape Town – France manager Didier Deschamps says he has done his homework on Bafana Bafana ahead of the highly anticipated friendly international at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, in Lille, on Tuesday night.
He has identified the players he views as potential threats when the two sides meet.
Deschamps intends to keep a very close eye on three players. They are Kaizer Chiefs’ Keagan Dolly, Baroka FC’s Evidence Makgopa and Orlando Pirates’ Bandile Shandu.
The world champions host the South Africans in a match that will be played before a capacity crowd at the 50 000-seater stadium in Lille.
Royal AM’s Victor Letsoalo came on as a second-half substitute in Bafana Bafana’s friendly international against Guinea at Guldensporen Stadion in Kortrijk in Belgium last Friday and made a lasting impression on the Les Bleus boss.
“I know the offensive players [in the Bafana Bafana team] better, the forwards,” said Deschamps.
“Dolly is an interesting player. The two forwards, Letsoalo and the other one is Makgopa."
The French have some of the most high-profile names in world football, but Deschamps said they are taking nothing for granted ahead of Tuesday’s match.
He even had spies on the stands when South Africa’s team played Guinea last Friday in a match that ended in a goalless draw. The French coach admitted that he had people in the stands taking notes on his behalf and knows what to expect from the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations champions when the two sides meet.
“Yes, of course, we had people from our team watching your game [against Guinea]. But I do not think it will be the same players who will face France.
“Even though this is a friendly game, we are preparing for the 2022 World Cup. This allows us to play against an African team, and this is not always the case for us. For example, the last time [we played against South Africa] was in 2010 at the World Cup.
“In the next World Cup, we may play against African nations and those teams might have the same qualities, the same style of play that South Africa has.”
He said Bafana Bafana are in the rebuilding stages, and he expects coach Hugo Broos to send out a different line-up on Tuesday night.
“South Africa has a new generation of players. To me it explains why South Africa did not qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations [earlier this year] and the World Cup," said Deschamps.
"There are a lot of local-based players who do not have a lot of international experience. But obviously, we have watched a lot of South African games, several of their last games, and I also watched their last game against Guinea.
“But I do not think it will be the same players because there were a lot of young players on the pitch against Guinea.”
Deschamps said Kylian Mbappé and Paul Pogba might get an opportunity to face Bafana Bafana, even though both had injury concerns in the build-up to tonight’s game.
Mbappé missed France’s win over Ivory Coast a few days ago due to an infection, while Pogba suffered a knock during the Ivory Coast outing.