By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
Bafana Bafana midfielder Steven Pienaar is ready to take on the national team of the United States of America. South Africa face the USA on Wednesday, November 17 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge clash scheduled for the Cape Town Stadium. Kick off for the match is 9.30pm.
Pienaar will captain Bafana Bafana in the absence of team captain Aaron “Mbazo” Mokoena who has been rested for this match.
“Tomorrow’s match is very important for the team but as for being a captain of the side it’s a great feeling but it won’t be that different from other matches. I will have the same responsibilities as I normally do in other matches because I’ve been with the team for many years but I’m looking forward to it. We want to end the year on a good note and a victory over the USA which has already beaten us twice will be a great way to finish the year. It’s always great to be back in Cape Town and playing in front of the locals because this is a special place for me, more so because we will be playing in a packed stadium as tickets have been sold out,” said Pienaar.
The captain’s sentiments were shared by new arrival in the national team Davide Somma. The England-based Leeds United FC player is hoping for some game time so he can do what he does best, which is scoring goals.
“I don’t know too much about the USA team, all I know is that they are very fit – but I think we should beat them as we have a lot of skilful players here in Bafana Bafana. I am pumped up for this match and I want to score goals, that’s what feels good for me. I want to do well against the USA team, but what is important for me is playing for South Africa which is what i want to do. The coach said to me I must play my normal game and not try to do too much. As for my teammates they are great guys to be with, and it’s so much different from club level, I am still getting used to the system and the people. Everything has happened so fast but I am taking it in my stride,” said Somma.
Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Matthew Pattison returns to the squad since he was first drafted in January this year at the Durban camp before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“We have an exciting array of players in this country, we have so much talent in abundance especially in my position in central midfield. That only means I have to work hard and ensure that when I get a chance I am ready and utilise it to the maximum. We have good players like Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Andile Jali, Thanduyise Khuboni and Daylon Claasen and I know whoever takes the field will do their best for the team to win. Being part of the national team again is a step in the right direction,” said Pattison.
Also eager to get some action is Dikgacoi, who has been out injured. He only returned to full training four weeks ago at his club.
“We are facing a very good team in the USA fact that they have left some of their good or experienced players at home should not make us relax. They still are a strong side without those stars. We should just continue with what we have been doing over the past four matches where we got good results,” said Dikgacoi.
Meanwhile all 23 players are in camp following the arrival of Israel-based defender Bevan Fransman. He joined his compatriots just after lunch time on Tuesday, November 16 and was in time for the squad’s last training session at the Cape Town Stadium.