With Friday’s second game of the tour now looming large, Glory have slotted into full preparation mode.

With Friday-s second game of the tour now looming large, Glory have slotted into full preparation mode.

Platinum Stars will provide the opposition, the magnificent Mbombela Stadium will again be the venue and coach Ian Ferguson is expecting a similarly tough challenge to that provided by Amazulu on Tuesday.

“The Amazulu game showed that we are maybe four or five weeks behind these sides in terms of fitness, but it-s still a great hit-out for us”, he said.

“They-ll be hard-pressing and physical just like Amazulu were and they will move the ball well and retain possession well.

“We-ll need to be a little bit more patient ourselves and not try and play the game at one hundred miles an hour.

“We are not at that level yet, but we are very happy with where we are at this stage of our preparations.

“In terms of our starting line-up, we-ll be making five or six changes and it-ll be good to get Billy Mehmet and Steven McGarry back on the park in particular.
“This will be their first game back so they will probably get around 45 minutes each.

“Storm Roux is another one who may well start. He-s a young W.A. boy who has come in and done well in training and can play in numerous positions.

“At the moment we-re playing him at right-back just to give Josh Risdon a little break and it-s a great opportunity for him.”

Alongside Roux in the back four will be Bas van den Brink, Michael Thwaite and Dean Heffernan, with Danny Vukovic continuing in goal.

Nicky Ward will partner Jacob Burns in the engine room just behind McGarry, Travis Dodd and Chris Harold and Mehmet will operate as the lone striker.

Liam Miller is Glory-s only injury doubt after suffering from cramp in the latter stages against Amazulu, but the Irishman is still expected to feature at some stage on Friday.

As for the Platinum Stars, they hail from Phokeng near Rustenburg, some 450km from Glory-s training base here in Nelspruit and are the only current top flight side operating out of North-West Province.

Nicknamed Dikwena, the Tswana word for crocodiles, the Stars were founded in 1998, are owned by the Royal Bafokeng nation and finished a creditable tenth in the ABSA Premiership last term.

Their major achievements to date include finishing as league runners-up in 2006-07, qualifying for the African Nations Cup in the process and lifting the Telcom Knockout Cup in 2006, defeating Ajax Cape Town in the final.

Cavin Johnson is the man currently in charge and he has overseen a massive turnover of more than twenty players during the off-season, with no fewer than five new recruits arriving from reigning champions Orlando Pirates and three others heading in the opposite direction.

Two of the Stars- signings were only completed earlier this week, namely striker Siphelele Mthembu and centre-back Rofhiwa Tshikovhi and both are likely to debut for their new club in Friday evening-s clash.

In terms of players to look out for, Joshua Sauls is a livewire striker who was snapped up from Chippa United having impressed as his side won promotion to the top flight last season.

The 25-year-old may well be joined in attack by highly-rated teenager Thabani Mthembu who came through the Kaizer Chiefs youth system and has scored on a regular basis for South Africa-s Under-20 side.

The Stars also have plenty of quality in midfield, notably former Orlando Pirates man Benson Mhlongo who has 37 full South African caps to his name, the powerful and free-scoring Morgan Shivambu, plus Enocent Mkhabela who is a converted centre-back with an all-action style that has earned him the nickname Gerrard.

And providing a steadying influence at the back will be goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane who was drafted into the Bafana Bafana squad for their games against Equatorial Guinea, Zambia and Ghana earlier this year.

Johnson-s men are scheduled to start their league campaign on August 12th when Moroka Swallows will make the trip to the magnificently-entitled Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.

Perth Glory-s 2012 pre-season tour of South Africa is proudly sponsored by Kaboko Mining, Okap Ventures, Europcar and managed by prominent South African firm SportUnplugged.