Pretoria – Bafana Bafana defender Bevan Fransman believes calm heads will be needed when they take on Egypt in the second leg of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier match in Cairo on Sunday.
The crunch Group G match is scheduled to be played at the Cairo Military Academy stadium at 8:30pm South African time.
“They are bound to attack us, no doubt about that, but we could also leave them open at the back. We will need calm heads as it will be one of our toughest ninety minutes as the national team.
“We know what’s at stake for us, and for them it is even more. We need victory in this game. They have done well against us in the past, but history counts for nothing,” Fransman said.
If Niger defeats Sierra Leone in their match on Saturday in Freetown and the Pharaohs fail to beat Bafana, then the Egyptians will officially be ruled out of qualifying for next year’s finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
However, it would perhaps be preferable for South Africa if Sierra Leone defeated Niger. This would mean Bafana would remain top of the group regardless of their result against Egypt, while a victory in Cairo would then have the double benefit of both eliminating the North Africans and putting Pitso Mosimane’s team within touching distance of qualification.
Bafana have spent the last week in camp in the North West and played a practice match against third-tier side Baroka FC last weekend, winning 5-0.
This will be South Africa’s first competitive away match against Egypt. Bafana have played two international friendlies against the Pharaohs in Cairo. The first, in November 2003, saw the North Africans win 2-1.
The second was a warm-up game prior to the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, which Bafana won 2-1. However, Egypt went on to win the tournament, while Bafana was eliminated in the group phase.
The Egyptian squad selected to face Bafana are goalkeepers Essam Al Hadary (Al-Merreikh, Sudan), Ahmed Adel (Al Ahly), Ahmed Al Shenawi (Al Masry).
Defenders: Wael Gomaa (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Fathallah (Zamalek), Mohamed Naguib (Ittihad El Shorta), Hani Said (Zamalek), Ahmed Samir Farag (Ismaily).
Midfielders: Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahly), Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland, England), Sayed Moawad (Al Ahly), Hosni Abd Rabou (Ismaily), Hossam Ghaly (Al Ahly), Amr Al Sulaya (Ismaily), Ibrahim Salah (Zamalek), Ahmed Hassan (Al Ahly).
Strikers: Shikabala (Zamalek), Mohamed Nagy ‘Geddo’ (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al-Said (Ismaily), Mohamed Zidan (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Ahmed Ali (Al-Hilal, Saudi Arabia), Doudi Al Gabbas (El Masri), Al Sayed Hamdi (Petrojet), Ahmed Abdul Zaher (ENPPI).
Bafana will wrap up their preparations at their camp on Wednesday and they are schedule to depart for Egypt on Thursday. – Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews
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