Johannesburg - France are set to use their friendly international against South Africa as an opportunity to fine-tune their preparations as they aim to successfully defend their 2018 World Cup title in Qatar later this year.
The game will be the fifth meeting between the teams.
France have won twice against South Africa, lost once and drawn once. The last time that the teams played was in the 2010 World Cup group stage as Bafana Bafana recorded a memorable 2-1 win over the then crisis-laden France team that was coached by Raymond Domenech.
Bongani Khumalo and Katlego Mphela were the scorers for South Africa in that game before Florent Malouda notched up a consolation goal for Les Bleus.
That very game happened to be the last international fixture in the football career of French football legend Thierry Henry who was introduced from the bench. Interestingly, Henry played his first and last international match against South Africa. He made his international bow against Bafana Bafana in a friendly international back in October 1997 which France won 2-1.
After defeating the Ivory Coast 2-1 last week, France will be expected to record their seventh straight victory but are likely to use their game against Bafana in order to experiment with different players and combinations.
After getting injured against Ivory Coast, Manchester United defender Raphael Varane is unlikely to feature against Bafana and he is the only player who is doubtful to play for Les Bleus.
This opens the door for William Saliba to start. After not playing against the Ivorians, Kylian Mbappe will also be looking to get some minutes under his belt. France coach Didier Deschamps has confirmed that midfielder N’Golo Kante will be available for the game.
N’golo Kante can be likened to Mohammed Ali, how can you play in that position and be better?— Mike Emenike 🇳![CDATA]>🇬![CDATA]>🇨![CDATA]>🇦 (@mik3buddy) March 24, 2022
You just can’t be better than “The Greatest” CDM all of time. 👑
Stop Patrick #Viera Comparison pic.twitter.com/d8QZ953QMt
“(N’Golo) Kante will be here for the second match,” Deschamps is quoted as telling the media.
Lens right-back Jonathan Clauss who was a surprise call-up to the latest French team is expected to feature as are Wissam Ben Yedder and Lucas Digne.
Household French names who will not feature as they were left out of the squad are Bayern Munich centre-back Dayot Upamecano, Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Lemar and Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele.