Bafana stay in Gauteng for now, but Safa has plans to spread games around
Bafana Bafana will stay in Gauteng for the international friendly against Eswatini next month.
South Africa meet Eswatini at home on October 13 before facing Ivory Coast away on October 17 as they continue their preparations for the start of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers in November and the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) next year.
The continental showpiece will be hosted by Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11.
Hugo Broos's national team drew 0-0 against Namibia and beat the Democratic Republic of Congo at Orlando Stadium 1-0 in this month's two friendlies at Orlando Stadium.
“The friendly against Eswatini will definitely be played in Gauteng,” South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Lydia Monyepao said.
“The reason is the team will have to immediately get on a flight to Abidjan after that match. We actually wanted to play this game in Cape Town — they finished renovations [at Cape Town Stadium] in September, but they have events happening at that time and we couldn't get the venue.”
This year Bafana have played in front of poor crowds at the Orlando and FNB stadiums. Monyepao said the plan is to take the national team around the country to provinces where the squad usually attract better attendances, with larger gate-takings helping Safa to offset the costs of matches.
“Come the World Cup qualifier against Benin in November, we are engaging two provinces, including Gauteng, in terms of hosting that. At the end of the day, it is about who will assist us in terms of the costs.
“We have certain stadiums that Caf [the Confederation of African Football] has approved for where the [national] team can play. We have Orlando Stadium and FNB Stadium in Gauteng, we have Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga, we have the Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town and Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
“These five stadiums are the only ones where we can play these games and we have engaged all these provinces to check if they will be available. Cape Town Stadium is not available on November 17 and 18 [for the Benin game] because there are two events happening, so we can’t consider them.
“We are engaging with other provinces to say that November is still a bit far and [to see] if they must look into their budgets to see if they can consider hosting the team.
“Obviously we hear the outcry about Bafana always playing in Gauteng and as an association, all our money has to go into preparation of the team. It mustn't cost us too much because we have to think about the next camp too, which is preparation for Afcon.
“We can’t spend too much money, we will always look at municipalities and provinces to host the game so they can reduce the financial burden on us and we can channel money into the preparation of the teams.”
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