Hosts hoping to celebrate with the nationJune 15th, 2010 - 5:26 pm ICT by IANS
Pretoria, June 15 (DPA) Kagisho Dikgacoi still has a score to settle with Diego Forlan and is hoping that Wednesday will be pay-back day.
The last time the two met was in May in Hamburg, when Dikgacoi’s Premier League club Fulham faced Atletico Madrid in the final of the Europa League.
Although Dikgacoi spent the game on the bench, Forlan’s two goals in Atletico’s 2-1 victory spoilt what would otherwise have been an ideal start to his career in Europe.
Dikgacoi Wednesday will again face Forlan as Bafana Bafana take on Uruguay in a World Cup Group A match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
“We all know that Forlan is a very good striker who will score if he is given the chance, but we do not have to concentrate too much on him, there are also many other good players in the side,” the midfielder said.
Ahead of the second round of matches the group is evenly poised, with all four teams having one point after drawing their opening fixtures.
For both Uruguay and South Africa the point secured was not necessarily something they would have expected ahead of the tournament as their opponents - France and Mexico respectively - were considered slight favourites.
Against Mexico South Africa began slowly and were clearly outplayed in the first half, but then were much stronger in the second and took the lead through Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Although veteran Rafael Marquez equalized for the Mexicans late in the game, South Africa go into Wednesday’s game full of confidence.
Midfielder Steven Pienaar, who plays his club football for Everton, said that the side will build on the second-half performance.
“The way we played in the second half against Mexico has given us a huge boost,” he said.
South African coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is expected to start with the same team that began the second half against Mexico, with Tsepo Masilela taking the place of Lucas Thwala who had some problems against the Mexicans in the first half.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez will be without Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro, who was sent off in their opening match against France.
Tabarez still fancies his side’s chances. “All the teams are on the same footing now. The group is evenly balanced and the next games will be crucial,” he said.
Wednesday’s match will be played on the same day on which, 34 years ago, students in Soweto took to the streets in protest against the use of Afrikaans in schools. The police reacted with brutality and shot at the protesting students.
The demonstrations, which soon spread to other parts of the country and left hundreds dead, unleashed a tidal wave of protest against the Apartheid regime, which the National Party government never quite managed to quell and ultimately led to the release of political prisoners and the unbanning of black political organisations.
June 16 is now a public holiday in South Africa and called Youth Day. South African football officials have said they will play the game against Uruguay in honour of those who died in the struggle against Apartheid.
Although none of the players were born at that time, it is still something they are very aware of.
“It is a big day in South African history, and we as players want to beat Uruguay and take a step closer to reaching the knockout phase and thereby making it a double celebration for our nation,” Pienaar said.
- Forlan double sends South Africa close to World Cup exit - Jun 17, 2010
- Hosts South Africa draw with Mexico in World Cup opener (Lead) - Jun 11, 2010
- S.African soccer star says team doing a great job - Jun 14, 2010
- Forlan becomes highest scorer for Uruguay - Oct 13, 2011
- France, Uruguay play goal-less draw (Lead) - Jun 12, 2010
- Mexico and Uruguay poised to advance from Group A - Jun 21, 2010
- Uruguay end Ghana fairy tale, reach semis (Roundup) - Jul 03, 2010
- Uruguay hoping for a repeat of history (Group A team profile) - May 26, 2010
- Bafana eager to show numbers mean nothing - Jun 10, 2010
- Uruguay can win World Cup, says coach Tabarez - Jun 17, 2010
- Can Bafana Bafana keep host streak alive? (Group A team profile) - May 26, 2010
- Uruguay end African fairy tale, earn spot in semis (Lead) - Jul 03, 2010
- We are already winners: South African president - Jun 22, 2010
- Uruguay beat Mexico 1-0, both go through (Lead) - Jun 22, 2010
- France seek more punch against confident Mexico - Jun 16, 2010
Tags: atletico madrid, bafana, bench, carlos alberto, carlos alberto parreira, club football, diego forlan, fulham, mexicans, mexico south, midfielder, opponents, premier league, pretoria, rafael marquez, second half, south african coach, steven pienaar, striker, world cup