South Africa

Striker Benni McCarthy is dropped after concerns over record scorer's fitness.

    Cape Town horn: A Bafana Bafana fan blasts a vuvuzela in support of South Africa [GALLO/GETTY]

    All eyes will be on the hosts as they bid to defy their underdog status and progress to the knockout rounds on home turf.

    Group A fixtures

    Friday June 11

     South Africa v Mexico  
     Uruguay v France 

    Wednesday June 16


     
    South Africa v Uruguay 

    Thursday June 17

     
    France v Mexico 

    Tuesday June 22

     
    Mexico v Uruguay  
     France v South Africa

    Up against three teams with the combined pedigree of 38 World Cups behind them, South Africa will bank on home advantage, desire and the unsettling effect of their fans' vuvuzela horns to see them progress in only their third appearance in the finals.

    Known as the Bafana Bafana, or "The Boys" to their fans, South Africa go into their home World Cup as the second-lowest ranked team - currently sandwiched at 83rd between Belarus and China.

    With the help of vuvuzela-blowing home crowds, Carlos Alberto Perreira's team will hope star midfielder Steven Pienaar can fire them past the group stages of the tournament for the first time following failed attempts in 1998 and 2002.

    They kick off their challenge on June 11 against Mexico at Soccer City - the Johannesburg stadium where they won their only Africa Cup of Nations title in 1996.

    Goalkeepers:

    Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Shu-Aib Walters (Maritzburg United)

    Defenders:

    Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongani Khumalo (SuperSport United), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa), Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth), Anele Ngcongoa (Racing Genk), Siyabonga Sangweni (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Lucas Thwala (Orlando Pirates).

    Midfielders:

    Lance Davids (Ajax Cape Town), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham), Thanduyise Khuboni (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Teko Modise (Orlando Pirates), Surprise Moriri (Mamelodi Sundowns), Steven Pienaar (Everton), MacBeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs).

    Forwards:

    Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siyabonga Nomvete (Moroka Swallows), Bernard Parker (FC Twente).

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.