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Costa Rica v South Africa: Oviedo relishing return to international action

Bryan Oviedo is relishing his return to the Costa Rica side as he prepares to end a near two-year absence from the national team when they host South Africa on Thursday.

The versatile Everton man has not played for Costa Rica since November 2013 due to a host of injury problems, including a broken leg that forced him to miss their stunning run to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, where they defeated the likes of Uruguay, Italy and Greece on the way to the last eight.

Costa Rica have not enjoyed much success since their exit from that tournament, with last month’s 1-0 win over Uruguay serving as their first since beating the same opposition on penalties in another friendly in November 2014.

But Oviedo’s return will be something to celebrate regardless of the result at the national stadium in San Jose and he and is determined to make the most of the opportunity.

“Every time I was preparing to come back I was thinking, ‘something is going to happen,’ and it always did,” Oviedo said.

“Finally I’m back here though and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of it.”

The game will serve as a tune up for each team as they prepare to begin their respective campaigns for qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia next month.

Costa Rica begin their bid for a place in the tournament in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualification with Group B games against Haiti and neighbours Panama.

Shakes Mashaba’s South Africa meet Angola in a two-legged tie, the first leg of which takes place on November 8, in the second round of CAF qualification.

South Africa failed to make it to the last World Cup and have taken just one point from two games in qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

But defender Anele Ngcongca said: “I know South Africans want us to win everything but from now onwards, we will put our foot on the gas and try to deliver. 

“We owe it to South Africans for the senior national team to make the country proud and happy.”

Thu 8 Oct, 2015
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