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SA DIARY

Posted on 26 July 2007  - 12:00

The squad travelled to Johannesburg after completing their Orlando Pirates assignment in Cape Town on Tuesday night and we now wait to see who will be providing the opposition in the Vodacom Challenge Final in Pretoria on Saturday.

The squad travelled to Johannesburg after completing their Orlando Pirates assignment in Cape Town on Tuesday night and we now wait to see who will be providing the opposition in the Vodacom Challenge Final in Pretoria on Saturday.

Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs play for the right to meet us in Port Elizabeth on Thursday in a contest that is known out here as simply 'The Derby'.

Martin Jol was questioned post-match at the Newlands Stadium over who he would like to meet in the final and the manager probably rightly said he has no preference.

Both teams presented a stern pre-season challenge and both our games against the sides finished 2-1, so there is not much to choose between the teams who enjoy over 70 per cent of of the footballing support over here.

Younes Kaboul has experienced a mixed competition so far, his appearance against the Chiefs lasting only a couple of minutes due to his face meeting the boot of Shaun Bartlett and the central defender had to have a front tooth repaired. On Tuesday he was a commanding figure at the heart of our defence and also demonstrated the fact that he has quite a shot on him.

"Well, good and bad!" said the signing from Auxerre when asked for his impressions of the tour. "In the first game, I was substituted after a minute or two with an injury to my face, but the second match went very well and I’m happy with the way things have turned out.

"At first I was not too good, but I am fine now. It felt like I’d been run over by a lorry and I didn’t know where I was for a moment. I thought I’d lost all my teeth and when I found out that I’d only broken one, I was very happy. Now it’s all done, there’s no side-effects and I feel good again with no pain at all."

Martin was certainly impressed with the shooting ability of Younes, but said it came as no surprise to him. "It was an unbelieveable strike!" reacted Martin. "Normally central defenders are not known for having a shot on goal from that distance, but we know he has an incredible shot and hopefully we can use that in the league as well."

Martin concluded by offering a fitness update on the players who were not involved against the Pirates - Teemu Tainio, Phil Ifil and Dimitar Berbatov.

"Teemu was injured before and we are trying to get him right out here, but I don't think he will make it for the final. Phil Ifil had a knock but has trained and is okay, while Dimitar Berbatov has a minor foot injury."