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Thu Apr 24 03:05:30 SAST 2014

No Christmas break for Bafana

MARK GLEESON | 15 August, 2012 06:500 Comments
Bafana Bafana training session
Siyabonga Nomvete and Reneilwe Letsholonyane during a Bafana Bafana training session at Royal Bafokeng Sports Complex on June 07, 2012 in Rustenburg, South Africa
Image by: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

CHRISTMAS has been cancelled for Bafana Bafana.

The national team will play warm-up games and will train over the festive season ahead of the African Nations Cup.

South African Football Association CEO Robin Petersen said matches have been organised for Bafana on December 23, January 9 and January 13 as they prepare to host the continental championship early next year.

These will be the last three of an eight-game programme for coach Gordon Igesund as the side seek to become African champions for the second time. The December 23 encounter is likely to take place in Durban, but the venues for the other two matches have not been set.

The opponents will be drawn from the list of Nations Cup finalists who will be in the country for pre-tournament preparations.

Bafana will have to wait for the Nations Cup draw in October because they cannot play teams in the same group so close to the start of the tournament.

The eight warm-up matches for Igesund's squad - from now until the Nations Cup finals kick off on January 19 - are beginning to take shape. The coach begins his tenure away against Brazil on September 7 and returns for a home debut against Mozambique in Nelspruit on September 11.

Another confirmed match is away against Poland on October 12.

Petersen said there will be one match before that on the weekend of October 7 to 9, likely in the Middle East, en route to the match in Europe. African champions Zambia will be Bafana's opponents in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge match on November 14.

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