Heat’s on for big Bafana match

2011-08-27 19:19

Bafana Bafana’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger next Sunday is a must-win for South Africa.

Coach Pitso Mosimane is obviously aware of this, judging from his statement this week: “The last thing we want is to leave it late to our game against Sierra Leone (in October).”

Bafana have eight points from four matches in their group and a win in Niamey will take them to 11 points and ensure a firm grip on pole position.

Only third-placed Sierra Leone can get to 11 points, provided they win their remaining qualifiers against bottom-placed Egypt on Saturday (subs September 3) and Bafana in October.

Should Bafana maintain their impressive goal difference, a draw against Sierra Leone will earn them a place at the finals co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next year.

South Africa – and Uganda in Group J – are the only two nations yet to concede a goal across 11 groups of qualifiers.

Niger can only finish on nine points if they beat Egypt on the same weekend in October.

Sierra Leone are placed third and Egypt are all but out of contention as they are rooted at the bottom of the table with a paltry two points from four games.

Mosimane said he had been monitoring Niger’s preparations ahead of their trip to Niamey.

“They have suspended their league to give the national team space to prepare, and they have been in camp for three weeks now – that’s how badly they want to win this game.”

He added: “We are facing a team that have won all their CAF qualifying matches at home. They beat Egypt (1-0) and Sierra Leone (3-1) and believe they can beat us. We also want to show that Bafana can win away.”

Bafana beat the West African nation 2-0 in the first leg at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit in Mpumalanga last September.

Mosimane has named a 24-man squad for the trip to Niamey, a group that included surprise call-ups of Mamelodi Sundowns duo Teko Modise and Musa Nyatama.

The team assemble in Johannesburg today en route to their training camp at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Complex in Rustenburg, North West.

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