BAFANA Bafana may not have qualified for the 2012 Afcon finals but coach Pitso Mosimane is confident the series of friendlies lined up will be valuable to them.
He will be using the friendlies to mark the start of preparations for the 2013 Afcon finals, which South Africa will host, and qualifiers for the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
Following the indefinite postponement of their match against India, Bafana will now start their 2012 campaign with an away match against Equatorial Guinea.
They take on the West Africans in the capital Malabo on January 5 to mark the official opening of one of the Afcon match venues.
Equatorial Guinea are without a coach after Frenchman and former Mamelodi Sundowns coach Henri Michel quit this week.
Bafana’s first home game will be against Zambia, who are preparing for the 2012 Afcon finals, at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on January 11.
Subsequent to that, Bafana will take on the 2010 World Cup quarter finalists Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on January 15.
Ghana are also going to the 16-nation Afcon finals to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Mosimane has roped in seven new players, including Sweden-based May Mahlangu, into the team for the three friendlies.
Other new players are Alie Nazeer of Ajax Cape Town, Rudick Gilbert, Mzikayise Mashaba (both Free State Stars), Patrick Phungwayo, Ryan Chapman (Bidvest Wits) and Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns).
“I have invited some players so I can have a closer look at them. I also want to reward those who did well this year ,” he said.
Mosimane has decided to negotiate with European clubs for the services of Thulani Serero, Steven Pienaar, Tsepo Masilela and Kamohelo Mokotjo.
Meanwhile, Ghana will set up their training camp at the Royal Bafokeng Sport Campus to prepare for the continental showpiece.
“We are delighted to welcome the Black Stars of Ghana back to Phokeng,” said Royal Bafokeng Sport Limited MD Floyd Mbele.