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South Africa v Norway

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Igesund: In Gordon we trust

Igesund: In Gordon we trust

Bafana Bafana return to the Cape Town Stadium for the first time in two years for an international friendly with Norway on Tuesday evening.

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Gordon Igesund's side, who last played in Cape Town in 2010 in a 1-0 defeat to the United States, have been training in the Mother City all week ahead of their highly-anticipated warm-up match in the lead up to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

South Africa will play one more friendly match before their January 19 opener against Cape Verde, when they face Algeria at the Orlando Stadium on January 12, but this is Bafana's first tie since Igesund announced his final 23-man squad.

And the former Moroka Swallows boss has promised to entertain the 30 000-strong crowd with "flair, pace and passion".

They will have to do that without the calming influence of Dean Furman though with the Oldham Athletic midfielder having only joined up with his teammates on Monday.

Ahead of the match, Igesund revealed: "Dean won't get a run as he has played a lot of games for his club in a short space of time, so we will rest him for tomorrow's match, because the bigger picture is the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 tournament starting in less than two weeks."

There were concerns surrounding the fitness of a number of players but Igesund has move to allay those fears.

He added: "Bernard Parker and Thulani Serero are fine. May Mahlangu got a bit of a kick on the ankle but he recovered in one day. Everybody is 100 percent.

"He's (Serero) about 65 to 70% right now. You will see him but not all the game. But Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker are flying. The medical staff have been excellent in getting these players back into action."

Norway have brought a squad made up mostly of locally based players (a small number ply their trade in Denmark and Sweden) and Igesund is confident they will do well against their European counterparts, although he is unlikely to put out his strongest side.

He added: "We want to win tomorrow night, but we are more focused on the tournament so I won't be showing my hand fully as to which team will run out for the tournament, and also I don't want players getting injured before we begin our campaign.

"We need a complete turnaround from the last six matches we played where I was looking at players. Now I have been able to spend some time with them and we are getting somewhere.

"I want to excite people with our play, and I want the players to play with flair, pace and passion and we can only do that when we have the crowd behind us.

"There is no point winning against Norway and Algeria and then not deliver on the 19th (January) when we face Cape Verde. This is a very new team and we have some different combinations we need to work on. So these two matches are crucial in that they will help the team to become a unit so that by the time the AFCON kicks off we will play as a unit."

The two nations have faced each other twice in the past with South Africa winning 2-1 in March 2009 with goals from Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala before Norway won 1-0 in Oslo via a strike from Kjetil Waehler.

SA squad:

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates), Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Defenders: Siboniso Gaxa (Kaizer Chiefs), Tsepo Masilela (Kaizer Chiefs), Bongani Khumalo (PAOK, Greece), Siyabonga Sangweni (Orlando Pirates), Thabo Nthethe (Bloemfontein Celtic), Anele Ncgongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders: Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace, England), Dean Furman (Oldham Athletic, England), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates), May Mahlangu (Helsingborg, Sweden), Thulani Serero (Ajax, Netherlands), Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows), Thuso Phala (Platinum Stars), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs)

Strikers: Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs), Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Tokelo Rantie (Malmo, Sweden), Lehlohonolo Majoro (Kaizer Chiefs)

Norway squad

Goalkeepers: Rune Almenning Jarstein (Viking), Andre Hansen (Odd Grenland)

Defenders: Espen Ruud (OB, Denmark), Kim Andre Madsen (Stromgodset), Lars Christopher Vilsvik (Stromgodset), Ruben Kristiansen (Tromso), Fredrik Semb Berge (Odd Grenland), Jorgen Horn (Stromgodset)

Midfielders: Bjorn Helge Riise (Lillestrom), Ruben Yttergard Jenssen (Tromso), Ardian Gashi (Helsingborg, Sweden), Magnus Lekven (Esbjerg, Denmark), Anders Konradsen (Stromgodset), Mohammed Fellah (Valerenga), Yann-Erik de Lanlay (Viking)

Strikers: Erik Huseklepp (Brann), Tarik Elyounoussi (Rosenborg), Alexander Soderlund (Haugesund), Jo Inge Berget (Molde), Marcus Pedersen (OB, Denmark)

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Posted: 08/01/13 08:35

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