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Posted on 20 July 2007  - 12:00

Jermaine Jenas can clearly remember the carnival atmosphere on his first visit to South Africa back in 2003.

Jermaine Jenas can clearly remember the carnival atmosphere on his first visit to South Africa back in 2003.

The midfielder was in the England squad for the friendly against Bafana Bafana in May, 2003 and came on as subtitute after 50 minutes for David Beckham.

England won 2-1 at the ABSA Stadium in Durban - home of our opener in the Vodacom Challenge on Saturday - with Paul Robinson another substitute, on at half-time for David James.

"It was a great experience," said JJ, just 20 at the time. "It was a big carnival experience, everyone in the crowd was dancing and I remember warming up with all the drums in the stadium, the singing, a great atmosphere to play football in.

"The South African fans love the game and it’s not just their team, they love football full-stop. I'm sure it will be the same for these three matches."

England had to come from 1-0 down to win a tough friendly encounter and JJ expects more of the same in our matches against the Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

"They are physical, fit and play in temperatures we don’t really experience here, so they are accustomed to it," he added. "They are very skilful and technically good.

"The players love to entertain and it’s a big occasion for them, their players are up against Premier League opposition and will see it as their chance to show what they are all about. It will be a test without a doubt."

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