Ethiopia a tough mission for Bafana, says Shabba

2013-06-11 15:58

Midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala believes Bafana Bafana will need to be at their best if they are to overcome a strong Ethiopian outfit in their crucial World Cup qualifier in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

South Africa beat the Central African Republic (CAR) 3-0 at a neutral venue in Cameroon at the weekend to remain two points behind Group A leaders Ethiopia in the second round of African qualifying for the 2014 spectacle in Brazil.

“The win against the CAR was vital as we now go to Ethiopia very motivated, but we know there is still a lot of work to be done,” Tshabalala said today.

“They are top of the group which tells you they are a formidable side, and they are also playing at home which will make our mission even tougher.

“But we are professionals and I believe we are up to the challenge. We know what is at stake here.”

Bafana drew 1-1 against Ethiopia in their first-leg qualifier in Rustenburg a year ago, and Tshabalala felt they would be able to bag three points in the return fixture.

“We must just work harder than in the first match to realise our goals,” he said.

“With the win against the CAR we are in the right frame of mind – we are confident but not overconfident.”

If South Africa lose to their hosts this week, they will be out of the race for a place in the third and final qualifying round, and while a draw will keep them in the hunt, Tshabalala believed a win was crucial.

Having played in the 2010 World Cup on home soil, where he scored the opening goal of the tournament against Mexico, he hoped to get another taste of playing in football’s most prestigious competition.

“We know they might come at us to unsettle us from the first whistle,” said the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder.

“We need to be calm and not panic but play our normal game of ball possession and close them down quickly when we lose the ball.

“This is a very important match for us as we all want to see ourselves playing in Brazil in 2014.

“We have tasted how it feels to be there, representing our country at a bigger stage and would not want to miss out.

“This is one battle that we need to win and we will do our best to get a positive result.”

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