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Wed Apr 23 16:30:52 SAST 2014

Nunes is itching to turn out in his Bafana colours

NICK SAID | 28 September, 2012 05:560 Comments
Ricardo Nunes
Image by: msport.aktuality.sk

RICARDO Nunes is awaiting Fifa approval, but hopes to play for Bafana Bafana against Poland and Kenya next month.

Nunes was born in Johannesburg, but represented Portugal at under-17- and 18 level. That means he requires Fifa's permission before he can switch allegiances to South Africa, which should be nothing more than a formality.

The left-back, who can also play as a winger and is something of a free kick specialist, is eager to get his Bafana career under way and could have debuted against Brazil were it not that he had just returned from injury.

He has been in excellent form for top Slovakian side Zilina in the last few weeks, netting a trademark free kick at the weekend in a 3-0 win over Tatran Presov.

"Coach Gordon Igesund phoned me [last month] and asked me if I would be interested to play for South Africa. My answer immediately was yes," Nunes said.

"I sent all the necessary papers to [Safa] and they are being assessed at Fifa headquarters. If everything is fine, then I will travel to camp on October 8 for the Poland game."

He said the call from Igesund came as something of a surprise, having been overlooked by previous Bafana coaches, but he is delighted it has finally come.

"Who would not be excited by this chance? I am anxious to get the response from Fifa. My Portuguese manager had told me about the possibility of playing for South Africa.

"Coach Igesund saw DVDs of my performances after he learned that I was born in Johannesburg," he said.

"The coach has stayed in touch with me and I hope everything will be ready for the match against Poland. My mother has been helping me get all the documents together, we needed letters from the Portuguese [Football] Association, proof of my father's name and that I was born in South Africa.

"Everything is with Fifa now," he revealed.

The 26-year-old is a product of the famous Benfica club in Lisbon, but never played for the first team. He has led something of a journeyman career, playing in Greece, Cyprus and Portugal, before signing for Zilina last year.

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