Kermit Erasmus hopes Bafana can light up home town PE against Mali
Bafana Bafana and Port Elizabeth-born star Kermit Erasmus said playing Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge will pose a big challenge for his team.
The two sides will lock horns in Sunday’s international freindly at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (3pm).
The national team have been struggling for game time after Zambia and Madagascar pulled out of last month’s scheduled friendlies due to xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg.
Sunday’s game will be coach Molefi Ntseki’s first official match as the Bafana coach following his appointment in August and what better way to start his term at the national side than with a win against Mali.
“The coach has told us to believe in the way we play‚ in our system and in our style. In doing that we also create our own identity‚” Erasmus said.
“Knowing the team that we are playing against – Mali – the game is good preparation for the Ghana clash [SA’s away Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in November].
“They are a big and a physical team from West Africa. So it’s going to be a big challenge for us‚ but we are looking forward to it.
“It’s been a good preparation. Unfortunately‚ in the last game we could not get a run at our opposition because of what had been happening in the country.
“But this is another opportunity to be prepared for our Afcon qualification game.”
Bafana arrived in PE on Tuesday and had held their first training session at Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele on Wednesday.
On Thursday the team played a warmup match against Absa Premiership side Chippa United‚ which ended in a 1-1 draw.
“The week has been good‚ we have been doing well. There have been a few niggles among the players‚ but most of the players have been in training.
“We are gelling really well‚ finding combinations with players‚ with the system that the coach wants us to play‚ and it has been working for us‚” he said.
The Cape Town City forward moved from PE to Pretoria as a teenager‚ where he made his professional debut with SuperSport United in 2007.
He spent two seasons in the Netherlands with Feyenoord and Excelsior before returning to SuperSport United in 2010.
Erasmus has also had stints at Orlando Pirates‚ Rennes‚ AFC Eskilstuna and Vitória de Setúbal before joining the Citizens in 2019.
“I am happy that the game had been brought to PE because my parents don’t get to see me often‚ playing live‚” he said.
“So it’s a great opportunity for them to see me play and for my family‚ my cousins and aunts as well.
“I am really happy that the game is here because it’s not often that I get to play in my home town and I am looking forward to it.
“Hopefully we can do our best and keep the cup.”