Pretoria – Bafana Bafana players strongly believe they have enough motivation to defeat the reigning Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) champions, Egypt, when they clash in a 2012 Afcon qualifier match.
The two teams will face each other at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium on Sunday, June 5. Kick-off is 8:30 pm South African time.
Bafana midfielder, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, said: “We don’t need any further motivation for this match. They have always qualified for the tournament and are currently the champions, so a win for us will be a huge morale booster ahead of the actual tournament, knowing we have contributed to them failing to qualify.
“We managed to get a point in Sierra Leone, and we believe we can do well in Egypt. We have the players that can take the heat when the going gets tough, but let me add that they will not be vulnerable because they are fighting for their lives.”
Scorer of the solitary goal in the last clash against Egypt, Katlego Mphela, believes Bafana will have to be smarter to get out of Egypt without a loss.
“This will be a different ball game altogether. When they were in South Africa, they were playing for a draw but now they will need all three points so they will come at us relentlessly. The advantage there is that they might open up and we could be punishing them, but we should not be stupid and look for a win when we can see we can’t get it.
“We are experienced enough to know which games we can win and which ones we can settle for a draw. All the players are aware that beating Egypt will increase our chances of qualifying ten-fold, and playing at an even smaller venue (Cairo Military Academy Stadium) could make our job a lot easier, rather than in the big Cairo International Stadium,” he said.
On Tuesday, National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele, visited the national team at their base camp in the Royal Marang Hotel in Phokeng, North West province.
Cele told the players that following the country’s success in hosting a safe and incident-free 2010 FIFA World Cup, the police and soldiers have been requested to offer their services at the 2014 and 2022 World Cup tournaments in Brazil and Qatar respectively.
South Africa will also send a contingent of 3 000 persons, including police, soldiers and office workers to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
“This clearly shows that South Africa is held in high esteem. We already have the numbers to cheer you on from the stands so you can go the full distance in Equatorial Guinea. As for the next match against Egypt, go there and do your best. We all saw what you did at Ellis Park in the first leg so let’s go finish it off,” said Cele.
Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane said the team was ready for the task at hand.
“I also believe this is our time and we will do our best to return from Cairo victorious, we will fight like true soldiers to the end,” he said.
The Pharaohs are in danger of not qualifying for the 2012 continental showpiece that will be held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
They are bottom of the group after collecting just one point in three matches, to South Africa’s seven in the same number of games. In continental rankings, Egypt is third followed by Bafana. – Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews