Bafana ‘can beat Sierra Leone’

2011-09-27 14:40

Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane is confident his side can win their deciding Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone in Nelspruit next month.

“We can beat Sierra Leone. We have the team to beat them and we are ready,” Mosimane said today after naming a 23-man squad.

South Africa’s qualification for next year’s continental tournament will also depend on the result of the match between Egypt and Niger in Cairo on the same day.

Niger are on nine points in the group – one point ahead of Bafana.

“I’ve seen their team [Egypt] and they’re a decent team, but all we can do is control what happens in our game against Sierra Leone,” Mosimane said.

If the South Africans defeat the Leone Stars, and Egypt beat Niger, Bafana will finish top in their group and guarantee themselves a place in the 2012 Afcon tournament.

“The plan was to get nine points at home, which is three wins, and three points away, which would give us 12 points,” Mosimane said.

“Unfortunately we only managed two out of three points away from home because we lost to Niger.”

Despite beginning their qualifying campaign with positive results, the South Africans are in a precarious position after losing 2-1 to their hosts in Niamey in their last match.

“Having lost that game puts us on the back foot,” Mosimane said.

“It puts us at risk with Niger having one point more than us.”

Bafana would ideally like to have the services of Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Steven Pienaar, in a race against time to recover from injury, but at this stage he seems an unlikely late inclusion.

“We have Pienaar on standby. I spoke to him yesterday and he’s training with his team,” Mosimane said.

“He hasn’t kicked a ball for about four months now, but he hopes to play in the Europa Cup on Thursday and maybe he will play on the weekend.

“Also, we need to see him on the field of play, so the doctors will tell us, the player will tell us and we will make a decision on that.”

The squad also includes 23-year-old newcomer Bradley Grobler, who turns out for Turkish side Goztepe Izmir, which will boost their options up front.

“I think we all know he’s a good striker, and he has done well for his team,” Mosimane said.

“We had him in our team in a training match with Bafana in Rustenberg when we needed extra players and he did well.”

Among five changes made to the Bafana squad, midfielder Reneilwe Lethsholonyane of Kaizer Chiefs makes a return after recovering from injury, while Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela has also been included.

Mphela’s domestic teammates, Lebohang Mokoena and defender Punch Masinamela, have also been recalled.

Bafana Bafana squad: Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands, Morgan Gould, Happy Jele, Eric Mathoho, Siboniso Gaxa, Bongani Khumalo, Anele Ngcongca, Siyabonga Sangweni, Punch Masenamela, Claasen Daylon, Hlompho Kekana, Oupa Manyisa, Thanduyise Khuboni, Andile Jali, Siphiwe Tshabalala (captain), Reneilwe Lethsholonyane, Lebohang Mokoena, Bernard Parker, Thulani Serero, Katlego Mphela, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Bradley Grobler.

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