Bafana “ready” to crush CAR

President Zuma's greets Bafana Bafana players before Nelson Mandela Challenge match against USA. Pic: GCIS
President Zuma greets Bafana Bafana players before a Nelson Mandela Challenge match against USA. Pic: GCIS/ File picture

Pretoria – Bafana Bafana head coach, Gordon Igesund is aiming to stick to his offensive strategy to collect maximum points in the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Central African Republic (CAR) and Ethiopia next month.

“We beat CAR convincingly in Cape Town in March, and we want to continue with our attacking game like we did back then and I believe playing in a neutral venue will help in that regard.

“We have to be offensive if we want to get something out of the match against CAR or we will be putting ourselves in a very tight corner.

“The following week, will be key against Ethiopia; of course depending on how they would have played against Botswana,” he said.

South Africa will play against CAR in Yaoundé, Cameroon on Saturday, 8 June at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo with the second match against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa scheduled for Sunday, 16 June.

Last week, Igesund named a 25-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, despite the core of his team being ravaged by injuries especially in defence.

He brought new players who were not part of his squad that played against CAR. Injuries have ruled out defenders Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni, Siyanda Xulu, Thabo Matlaba as well as striker Dino Ndlovu.

Called up to the squad are three Kaizer Chiefs defenders Tsepo Masilela, Tefo Mashamaite, Siboniso Gaxa as well as Bevan Fransman of Supersport United.

Also returning to the Bafana Bafana fold after a long absence are Thandani Ntshumayelo and Tlou Segolela (both Orlando Pirates), Richard Henyekane of Mamelodi Sundowns and Katlego Mashego of Moroka Swallows.

The two qualifiers are part of Bafana Bafana’s “Road to Brazil” campaign and Igesund described them as two very important matches.

“Even though we are missing a few players through injuries or loss of form, things are looking very positive.

“The players I have selected for these matches are highly technical and ready for the challenge. They also know what is at stake. I am quite confident that we will pull through.

“These are huge encounters for us, and as for the CAR match, the most important thing is that we must not lose this game.

“If we don’t win then we need to have a draw so we can stay in the race because we still have to meet and hopefully beat group leaders, Ethiopia,” he said.

The Bafana squad goalkeepers are Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands, Senzo Meyiwa. Defenders Eric Mathoho, Tefo Mashamaite, Thabo Nthethe, Anele Ngcongca, Bevan Fransman, Tsepo Masilela, Siboniso Gaxa and Tebogo Langerman.

Midfielders are Kagisho Dikgacoi, Dean Furman, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Oupa Manyisa, May Mahlangu, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Richard Henyekane, Thuso Phala, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Diane Klate and Tlou Segolela. The strikers are Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, and Katlego Mashego. –