Bafana Bafana must seize the opportunity

2012-06-02 17:04

Match against Ethiopia a chance to claim first win in almost a year

A win is not negotiable for Bafana Bafana.

With Safa reportedly settling their long-standing debt dispute with sangoma S’bonelo Madela, all signs indicate that Bafana will claim their first win since August when they play Ethiopia.

Pitso Mosimane’s men have gone nine matches without a win as the team begins its quest to qualify for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

Bafana last tasted victory against Burkina Faso.

They failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and Mosimane knows that his fate lies in the World Cup qualifiers.

The next two games – against Ethiopia today and Botswana on Saturday in Gaborone – are key to Mosimane’s future.

The coach believes 12 points out of a possible 18 will be enough to see the team top their qualifying group.

Bafana will have to win all their home games, starting with the 138th-ranked Ethiopia (41st in Africa) and win at least one away game to be in pole position to qualify.

Bafana are ranked 67th in the world and 14th on the continent.

Mosimane said he had learnt from the team’s failure to qualify for the Afcon finals. He said one of the main reasons the team did not qualify was failure to win all their home games and collecting only three points away.

But the mood has been vibrant in the Bafana camp as they aim to turn the corner.

Mosimane will be hoping that captain Steven Pienaar, who has been playing superbly in England, takes his club form to the pitch for Bafana.

Pienaar this week cautioned about underestimating the visitors, but spoke of the importance of kick-starting their campaign with a victory.

The selection of free-scoring Siyabonga Nomvethe has given the team a boost up front as the Moroka Swallows marksman is expected to partner with Katlego Mphela.

Bafana need all Nomvethe’s experience in front of goals, an area in which they have been found wanting in the past.

Mosimane will look at the partnership of Morgan Gould and Bongani Khumalo in the absence of Siyabonga Sangweni.

Khumalo lacks match fitness from not playing regularly, but he has previously played alongside Gould at SuperSport United.

Bafana have won six of their seven matches in Rustenburg.

Not much is known about the visitors except striker Fikru Tefera, who has played in the PSL. Captain Degu Debebe is one of their key players.

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