SA wary of Malians

2014-01-14 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Bafana Bafana will have to watch their step when they meet Mali tomorrow night in both teams’ second matches in the Caf African Nations Championship (Chan).

Mali have so far created the biggest upset in the tournament by defeating African giants Nigeria 2-1.

Bafana play Mali at the Cape Town Stadium at 5 pm and Gordon Igesund’s team are well aware that a win will almost guarantee a place in the semi-finals. A loss against the West African squad will, however, require Bafana to beat Nigeria just to stay in the running.

The South Africans players yesterday looked more relaxed than during their practice sessions last week.

Sibusiso Vilakazi, one of South Africa’s midfield players who had a good game against Mozambique, believes it will be important to dominate Mali from the start.

“Mali’s win over Nigeria was definitely a shock, but that is soccer for you. You can’t expect every­thing to always go to plan,” he said after the team’s practice session in Pinelands.

“They played well and deserved the win. It will be a difficult match against them. We looked at the game and are thoroughly preparing for what awaits us. We must win this game.

“We’ve got the motivation and now we have to take it from there,” he said.

Vilakazi said it was good to see the players create and use opportunities.

However, he cautioned that it will be very important to have a wall of defence to contain the dangerous Mali players.

“It is now on us to build on our good start. We will also rely on the support of the people in the Cape Town Stadium. They were excellent during our first game and I think more will come to the matches.

“Obviously if you keep on winning games and doing well, you’ll get the support you need,” he added.

Having made his international debut for South Africa in October last year, Vilakazi said he will use Chan as a platform to cement his place in the national team.

“It’s something I’ve been preparing myself for and it’s a chance for me to grab a place and get settled on the international stage,” he said.

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