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Topnews, FIFA World Cup 2010

25. June 2009

Euphoria as Bafana prepare to face Brazil

Pretoria – South Africa is awash with Green, Black, White, Gold, Red and Blue as Bafana Bafana prepare to lock horns with Brazil in the second semi-final of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.

South Africans streets are adorned with colourful Bafana T-shirts, flags, vuvuzelas and unique soccer regalia ahead of the clash on Thursday night.

The South American champions have won all their three matches so far in the tournament and have vowed to show no mercy against the host side.

Meanwhile, Bafana have had it all. They have lost, drawn and won their matches in their Confederations Cup campaign.

One of South Africa's star performers so far, Siboniso Gaxa, has stated his belief that Bafana Bafana must stifle Brazil's strongest players if they wish to pull off an upset in Thursday 25 June's semi-final at Ellis Park.

Defender Gaxa, who plays his club football in his homeland with Mamelodi Sundowns, is relishing the challenge of taking on a Brazil side containing some of the biggest names on Planet Football, though he is fully aware of the challenge ahead.
“The game itself is a big match for us; I'm excited to be part of such a game. The most important thing is to believe in ourselves,” said Gaxa.

He is confident that Bafana will fair well against the Brazilians.

“We need to play attacking football; we need to put our chances away. But the most important thing is belief. I have a strong feeling that we will do well against Brazil. We have to neutralise them and their dangerous players,” he said.

Bafana’s Head Coach Joel Santana can’t wait to face his countrymen.

“We deserve to be in the semi-finals, we got four points. We outplayed New Zealand. We beat them 2-0, but could have scored six while Iraq were totally negative.

I am happy to be in the semi-finals, I could have been heading home. But now I am looking forward to a major semi-final of a big Fifa event,” said the Brazilian-born coach.

Brazilian team coach Dunga – who captained a Brazilian side that beat Bafana 3-2 in 1997 – concedes they have an uneasy task against South Africa.

“South Africa are an emerging team, but we know they will give us a difficult test. They're strong, quick and they will have the crowd behind them.

But we'll be well prepared. Brazil have a very strong squad, which helps in a tournament like this. Every player in the squad is a first-teamer,” he said.

By: Simangaliso Zwane


Additional reporting:


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