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SA SOCCER NEWS
Cash boost for Bafana ahead of qualifier 02/06/04
The Bafana Bafana squad has been given a timely boost ahead of their 2006 World Cup qualifying game against the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday in the form of outstanding bonuses from the AFCON finally being paid out.

Touchline Photo

The boost comes in the form of the R150 000 cash bonuses which the players were promised during the African Cup of Nations in February.

There are nine players in the current squad which will be in line to finally receive the money owed to them - nearly three months late.

This decision by SAFA came on Friday, after the executive committee finally decided to pay out the outstanding money the players were owed.

SAFA CEO Albert Mokoena says that for future games the national team players will  receive R40 000 for a win, R20 000 for a draw and nothing for a defeat.

Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is busy with his final preparations as the team gets set to play their first match under his guidance.

He has managed to assemble a near full-strength team - with Benni McCarthy the only non-injured player who is not available for the squad.

Players that were forced to pull out through injury are Sibusiso Zuma and Steven Pienaar.

Zuma's place looks likely to be filled by Stanton Fredericks, while Bennedict Vilakazi, who Baxter is said to have been impressed with, is expected to be named as the playmaker in the team in Pienaar's absence.

Vilikazi will be partnered in the centre of the park by Mbulelo Mabizela, who Baxter has pushed forward from his normal defensive role into the position of destroyer in the centre of the park.

Baxter also mentioned that there are a number of players who are not in the squad who he has been highly impressed with, and these players could still come into the reckoning for the squad.

These players include Thando Mngomeni, Abram Raselemane and Tyren Arendse, who has been in sparkling form for Santos this season, scoring a number of well-taken goals.

The English-born coach says that he is happy with the composition of the current team and is confident of achieving a positive result on Saturday, however, he is remaining cautious of South Africa's little known opponents.

"I think the squad is well balanced and I believe we can get a good result if we treat the match with professionalism, respect and the hard work that it deserves," Baxter told the Sunday Times.

"We mustn't forget that for Cape Verde the match is like the World Cup final itself. They have nothing to lose and no pressure at all.

"It would require a huge amount of mental strength from our players to really pull a convincing victory."

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