Plenty of problems for Pitso

Pitso Mosimane, coach of the South Africa national football team, will face challenges narrowing down players to include in Bafana Bafana’s first match of the season next Wednesday against Burkina Faso. Mosimane will name his team on Tuesday. Players will be selected on the basis of reputation and experience. The timing of hosting the first international friendly in early August presents complications for players who must return early to their home countries from vacationing abroad. Further complications include player movements and transfers. Mosimane hinted last week that he will select players Steven Pienaar and Kagisho Dikgacoi for the match against Burkina Faso. Mosimane will need to assemble the strongest team possible, because next week’s friendly is Bafana’s only confirmed fixture before a match against Niger which could qualify South Africa for next year’s finals in Equatorial Guinea/Gabon. Bongani Khumalo can also be expected to play in the upcoming match. A further concern for Mosimane is the mental state of players Tsepo Masilela and Kat-lego Mphela. Masilela’s deal with English Championship side Leicester City fell through, while Mphela failed trials at Glasgow Celtic over the weekend.

Next week’s match comes two days before the official start of Absa Premiership. Mosimane must decide whether to include players Andile Jali, Tlou Segolela and Moeneeb Josephs since they will be preparing for their club’s upcoming fixture.

Big Relief for Sihlangu!

A huge relief for Sihlangu as Botswana will be without most of their key players for Sundays international friendly match in South Africa. Botswana opted to arrive early in Pretoria in order to being their preparations at a High Performance Centre. Botswana are set to play without most of their foreign-based stars such as Dipsey Selolwane and Mogogi Gabonamong as they were not given permission to join up with the squad for the training camp. Botswana’s national coach Stanley Tshosane however says he is happy with his squad and he feels that his side is ready to take to the pitch even with numerous star absentees. Botswana was the first country to qualify from play to the 2010 African Nations Cup which is being co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Botswana was able to outperform Tunisia and Togo to gain their qualification.

The BFA has already announced that they have set up a series of training camps and practices to allow the national team coach to test his players.

Khumalo chose Reading FC on Redknapp’s advice

Bongani Khumalo, who gained his fame in South Africa when he scored a header for the win against France, joined Reading after speaking with Harry Redknapp about the club on a season long loan. Khumalo who is excited for his prospects with Reading will make his debut Saturday in a pre-season match against Swindon Town. Last year Khumalo only played 6 games after he suffered a foot injury while playing on loan with Preston North. Before his stint with Preston North Khumalo played in South Africa for Supersport United. His loan deal with Reading means that he can be recalled by the Spurs in January. However, it is likely Khumalo will miss a proportion of that month anyway due to the Africa Cup of Nations that runs from January 21 to February 12 in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

He said: “South Africa haven’t done too well in the Africa Cup of Nations for some time, so it would be fantastic to win it.”

Botswana Leaves for Training Tour in South Africa

The Botswana national team is on a training tour of South Africa as part of preparations for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. However, deputy first choice goalie Noah Maposa and striker Moemedi Maotlhaping will miss the trip due to their involvement in trials in South Africa. Botswana were the first country to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations apart from co-hosts Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.