Bafana out of the rut

2011-06-11 15:39

Pitso Mosimane can look back with pride after managing to steady the Bafana ship.

Under his guidance the team has lost only one game and conceded only a single goal – to the US – in November.

When he took over the team was ranked 66th in the world and 12th on the continent but today they are a ­respectable 38th and 4th respectively.

But Mosimane was modest about his achievement on the eve of closing his short-term vision, saying it was all about team effort.

His immediate vision is to steer ­Bafana to next year’s Africa Cup of ­Nations finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and he is already on the verge of booking a place in that contest.

Mosimane said his plan from the ­outset was to collect four points from each nation in Bafana’s group.

So far the team is on course as they got four points from Egypt – beating them at home and drawing away.

Bafana also acquired three points from ­Niger at home and drew away in Sierra Leone, whom they still have to host in the ultimate qualifier.

Mosimane will now enter his second phase, which starts next year, with the 2014 World Cup qualifying rounds.

But he is also eyeing the 2013 ­Confederations Cup in Brazil, which means he has to win next year’s Nations Cup.
For now Mosimane said he did not want anyone to mess up the team’s ranking.

Bafana’s position will come in handy during the World Cup preliminary draw to be held ­Brazil next month and for next year’s ­Nations Cup.

“I’s good to go up but the challenge is to stay there as everybody wants to ­topple you,” said Mosimane.

Mosimane believes that it is possible for Bafana to revert to the top of the ­continental rankings. For this to happen South African club bosses need to ­take both the Caf Champions League and Confederations Cup seriously.

“I am happy that the likes of Andile Jali will play the Caf Champions League next year, where they will get to travel and experience other parts of Africa,” he said.

He said it would also help if more players could go abroad.

“We sometimes need to compromise fixtures and sponsors like we did leading to the World Cup in order to help the team succeed.

We should also take development and grassroots football ­seriously for us to achieve at the top.”

Mosimane believes the team has done well in the following four aspects:

» Technical Side

The team has improved tremendously, especially on set-pieces but still lacks the killer instinct in front of goals.

“Our passing has improved as we can now move forward and so has our ­aggression. But we need to improve our finishing and if Katlego (Mphela) can score half the chances he gets he will easily become a top scorer again.”

» Tactical

The first thing he did when he took over was to play two strikers instead of sticking to the lone striker that former coach Carlos Parreira deployed.

“We now play more as a team as we can defend together and our ­counterattacks are unbelievable and our ball ­possession is far better as we now play with more confidence.”

» Physical condition

“Since the World Cup the team’s ­physical condition has been unbelievable and this has rubbed off on the PSL teams.

We can now play for 90-plus minutes as we scored in injury time against Egypt and again played an extra seven minutes in Cairo due to our shape.

We also have a post-season physical condition management programme and have been given players’ DVDs on how to keep in shape during the off-season.”

» Team spirit

He said through applying the slogan, “We must be the best team-mates”, the team spirit and team work have been awesome.

“We are one team and the players play for each other and there is trust,” he said.

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