Bafana playing for pride

2008-10-07 00:00

PRETORIA — Pride is the overall motivating factor for Bafana Bafana when they travel to Equatorial Guinea for their final 2010 African Nations Cup qualifier against Equatorial Guinea on Saturday.

That was the point driven home by German-based left back Bradley Carnell, after the squad’s first training session at the Pilditch Stadium in preparation for their trip to the west African country.

The match is meaningless in terms of the 2010 Afcon finals in Angola. Both Bafana and Equatorial Guinea have failed to qualify for the next phase of qualification for the showpiece in Angola.

The result will determine who will finish bottom of Group Four. Nigeria won the group. The Super Eagles have not conceded a goal in their five games played and meet the other qualifier, Sierra Leone, for the final qualifying phase this weekend.

Carnell said despite losing to Nigeria 1-0 on the cabbage patch pitch at the ERPU Stadium in Port Elizabeth last month, the team’s performance has given plenty of hope for the future.

“We played well against Nigeria,” said Carnell. “We should have got a better result, but at the end of the day we showed we are on the right track and the team is starting to come together.”

Carnell, who plays in the Bundesliga for Karlsruhe, said he is not worried about what Bafana might encounter on their first ever trip to Equatorial Guinea. “I have been playing a long time in Africa for Bafana. The conditions, whether good or bad, do not worry me in the least and it really does not matter what the condition of the pitch is. We played on a real shocker of a pitch in Port Elizabeth, so whether we have another bad pitch or a half decent one it does not worry me or the other players in the least.

“We simply must get on with the job and that is rebuilding the squad to compete in next year’s Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup finals.”

Carnell, one of the most experienced players in coach Joel Santana’s squad added: “I would not be coming back to South Africa to play for Bafana if I did not have the goal of playing in the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup finals. I would have retired long ago. But I want to play in both tournaments, so I am determined to give my best and honour every call up. It is important we are well prepared for the Confederations Cup next June.”

Carnell said he owes it to the Bafana fans to come home with a win. “We are slowly rebuilding our support base and need to continue winning back the fans with the Confederations Cup just round the corner.”

Carnell also said last week’s 3-0 win over Malawi in a friendly international by a Bafana side comprising Premier Soccer League players, was a welcome boost. “The local players showed the way and they have lifted their spirits. Now it is up to all of us to go to Equatorial Guinea and get a decent result.”

Kick-off is at 5 pm.

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