'US will bring a strong team'


“It’s a huge game for them. I think they are going to bring their European-based players,” he tells Kick Off.

“They will have a strong squad because it’s an important test for them – a dry run – seeing as they plan to qualify for the World Cup and come back in 2010.”

The Stars and Stripes, who are making their first-ever trip to South Africa, recently brought in John Hackworth as assistant to head coach Bob Bradley and Rubesch sees this as a move to strengthen their technical bench.

“I have known John for a while; he’s a good friend of mine. I used to coach the Under-17 regional teams that fed the national Under-17s, which was in his charge. John is a very good coach, and I’m sure they’ll benefit from having him.”

Bradley, who took charge of the team on an interim basis in December last year before getting the job permanently in May, went 10-0-1 in his first 11 games, but the Americans then lost five straight after winning the Gold Cup final in July. Then they set the record straight by beating Switzerland 1-0 in the middle of October, thanks to a goal by the head coach’s son, Michael.

Judging from the statistics of that game, Bafana can also expect a very physical match as in their last match the Americans committed 25 fouls, almost double that of their Swiss opponents and picked up two yellow cards.

Rubesch says he won’t be able to travel to Johannesburg to watch the Mandela Challenge.

“Yeah, I won’t be able to make it unfortunately. Ajax are having youth trials that weekend. But I’m sure I’ll catch it on TV.”