Bafana Bafana face Burkina Faso in February
Posted: 14 January 2011 Time: 2:40 pm
Safa CEO Leslie Sedibe has confirmed that Bafana Bafana will play West Africans Burkina Faso in an international friendly on February 9 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
The match will serve as a warm-up for Bafana's crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt at Soccer City in late March, and given that the fixture against the Burkinabe falls on a Fifa match day, coach Pitso Mosimane will have the luxury of calling up a full-strength squad. Sedibe admits that Mosimane initially wanted to play against a North African team in February, but yet more procrastinating at Safa meant that their targets had already made commitments against other nations. "Initially, our coach Pitso Mosimane wanted to play a match against one of the top North African teams like Morocco, Tunisia or Algeria, but we could not conclude a deal with either team after they withdrew," Sedibe said late last year. "We could not try Egypt because they are in the same group with us for the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers." The decision to take the game to Rustenburg is part of the organisation's commitment to play Bafana matches in all parts of the country, utilising the World Cup stadia. "We have made a commitment as the Safa leadership after the World Cup in July that we will be taking our matches to the people to say a big thank you to South Africans for embracing Bafana Bafana during the World Cup," Sedibe said. "In addition, we made it clear that Bafana Bafana will use the World Cup match venues because we don't want them to become white elephants." South Africa and Burkina Faso have met on five previous occasions, with two wins for Bafana and one for the Burkinabe, with the other two drawn. The very first meeting, a World Cup qualifier in 2001, was also played in Rustenburg, though on that occasion at Olympia Park, when a lone Shaun Bartlett goal gave the home side a 1-0 win. The return fixture ended 1-1, Sibusiso Zuma getting Bafana's goal. The teams met at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations finals when they played to a 0-0 draw, while Steven Pienaar and Bartlett netted in a 2-0 win in a World Cup qualifier in 2004. Their last meeting, away in 2005, ended in a surprise 3-1 defeat for Bafana, with Zuma again getting the lone Bafana goal.