Newly-appointed Angola coach Roberto Bianchi says his team will give Bafana Bafana a run for their money when the two teams clash in an international friendly match in East London this evening.
South Africa will go all out to stretch their unbeaten run to 17 matches with victory over the 148th-ranked Palancas Negras at the sold-out 16 000-seater Buffalo City Stadium (kickoff 7pm).
South Africa will go into the match holding a dominant record against their opponents that has seen them taste defeat in just one of their previous 12 meetings. But 50-year-old Brazilian coach Bianchi‚ who was appointed at the beginning of March‚ says his team are determined to give a good account of themselves.
“It will be 11 against 11. We’re not here for a holiday because this is a beautiful country‚ but we are here to compete and give South Africa a tough match‚” Bianchi said ahead of the match.
Bianchi will be in charge of his second game since his instalment as new coach on March 8 after replacing Jose Kilamba. Angola lost 2-0 away in Mozambique on Saturday in Bianchi’s first match and he has brought the same team‚ mostly made up of locally based players‚ to South Africa.
Bianchi has some task ahead of him restoring the hopes of Angola‚ who were surprise World Cup qualifiers in Germany in 2006‚ but have plunged to an astounding 147th in the Fifa rankings.
“It’s a new team but not a bad team. A new group of kids. We know that Bafana Bafana are a good team so my side are happy to start from scratch with a good team like South Africa‚” said Bianchi‚ who has previously worked in Jordan‚ Spain‚ Montenegro and Indonesia and had been coaching Angola since 2015.
Bianchi‚ the fourth Brazilian to coach Angola‚ has been coach of Angolan club Petro de Luanda since last year and was handed the national team job after guiding the capital team to runners-up in the Angolan championship.
Bianchi’s mandate is to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted in Cameroon.
Qualifying for the tournament will start in June‚ and Angola will face Burkina Faso‚ Botswana and Mauritania in their group.
The Palancas Negras (Black Antelopes) are ranked 45th out of 54 countries in Africa.