Safa announce Bafana opponents


South Africa were due to meet Portugal for a friendly in Lisbon, but after Luis Felipe Scolari’s side opted to play European opposition in Greece ahead of the Euro 2008 Championships in June, Bafana have struggled to fill the void.

However, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has used his extensive South American links to set up a home match with against Paraguay at a venue that still has to be decided.

The Paraguayans, who are currently ranked 27th in the Fifa World Rankings, were Bafana’s opponents in an exciting Group B encounter at the 2002 World Cup finals that finished 2-2, when Quinton Fortune’s last minute penalty sealed a point.

“We are delighted to present a talented and exciting team like Paraguay to the people of South Africa,” Safa CEO Raymond Hack, said. “The South Americans will provide a tough test for our boys to match what we experienced at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.”

Being a Fifa date, Parreira is likely to have a full squad to choose from, though whether it will see the return to the side of Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy is anybody’s guess.

What is known is that Parreira is using the match as preparations for the 2010 World Cup, and Hack disclosed that Safa would announce a full programme of matches for the national team in the lead-up to the tournament in due course.