New Italians fired up

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While Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is happy for his charges to gain more valuable experience against a top Europan outfit, his counterpart Roberto Donadoni had some explaining to do.

“The regulars needed to rest and it is now time for the newer Italian players to take their chance and grow,” he says.

“Yes it is a new team, but the players are still representing Italy. That has not changed.

“South Africa did well against Scotland in a friendly so this gives us an idea that they will give a good challenge,” the former Italian star midfielder says.

Media complained there were no big stars in the Italian side, but the way some of the newer brigade trained the day before the match shows that they have the desire to take this opportunity.

“Tomorrow I hope to impress. I know most of the players in the squad, some from the junior national teams and there is talent – we just need to do the job on the field,” winger Alessandro Rosina told Kick Off.

A lot is expected of the Torino man who was buzzing at the light training session held at the match venue.

Will he transfer the form on the training field, which saw him slotting goals from all angles, into the match situation?

“The coach believes in me and I hope I can do what I did at training in the match.”

Rosina has been given the number 9 jersey, usually worn by Luca Toni. But he says the “number means nothing” and that it matters what he does “on the field”.

Another player set for his debut is midfielder Riccardo Montolivo of Fiorentina.

Asked not only about the Bafana match, but also about the all-important Euro 2008 clash with Scotland next month, Montolivo had this to say:

“The camp has been great and I hope I can get a game. I’m not even thinking about our Scotland match. I think South Africa will give us a tough game and I’m looking forward to playing,” Montolivo says.

By Neil Greig in Siena, Italy

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