Sun. Sep 27th, 2020

Bafana Bafana to face Ghana and Angola in Afcon tune-ups

Thulani Hlatshwayo of Bafana Bafana during the match between South Africa and Nigeria at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images Bafana BafanaGhana and Angola will serve as Bafana Bafana’s final warm-ups ahead of the 2019 Afcon in Egypt.

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Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter revealed on Wednesday that the team had secured an extra friendly date ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

South Africa will face Ghana in Dubai on 15 June before heading to Afcon host nation Egypt where they will square off with Angola in another warm-up friendly.

Angola’s willingness to play against Bafana Bafana was apparently all that was required to get Baxter to agree to the fixture.

“We’re going to play Ghana on the 15th, and we’re going to play Angola in Egypt on the 19th. That’s the one that we can get, so I’m taking it.

“We need more than two games really, but that’s what we can get,” Baxter told a press conference in Johannesburg.

Baxter must name his Afcon squad by 11 June but faces a tense wait on passports for overseas based-players Joel Untersee and Nikola Tavares. Neither of the defenders have been capped by South Africa.

Untersee was born in Roodepoort but moved to Switzerland at a young age. He played for Switzerland as a junior international but has chosen to switch allegiances to South Africa.

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Tavares was born in Cape Town to a South African-Portuguese father and Croatian mother. He played for Croatia at junior international level but has also opted to make the switch to Bafana. Tavares currently plies his trade with Crystal Palace in the Premier League. At just 20-years-old he is already a physically imposing figure and Baxter believes he can step up to full international level.

Baxter insists that he is keeping an open mind about his final 23.

“I’m trying to have an open mind. We’ve got the issues that we’ve got‚” Baxter said.

“I think I know – because you can’t go with five right-backs and one centreback – in which positions we’ve got to cut.

“But I’m having an open mind until the last minute so that we don’t do anybody a disservice.”

Bafana Bafana play the Ivory Coast in the first match of their 2019 Afcon campaign on 24 July.

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