Neutral venue offers no advantage: Khune

By Drum Digital
24 April 2013

Captain Itumeleng Khune has warned his Bafana Bafana teammates not to consider it an advantage that their return-leg 2014 World Cup qualifier against Central African Republic (CAR) will be played at a neutral venue.

South Africa face CAR in June, after securing a 2-0 win in Cape Town last month, but the return match will not be played in CAR due to security concerns in the central African nation.

"It really doesn't matter where we play CAR because they showed glimpses of brilliance when we hosted them, which means they can be dangerous," Khune said on Wednesday.

"It is after all a game of 90 minutes for both sides and we must be aware that what we can do they can also do. At the end of the day, there are three points at stake, and also the pride of the country.

"Whether we are playing at home, away or at a neutral venue, we must do our job to the best of our abilities."

Khune believed mental strength would be key for Bafana's crucial back-to-back away qualifiers against CAR and Ethiopia.

The South Africans played to a goalless draw against Ethiopia in Rustenburg last year.

"I know many are thinking of the rough conditions out there but we have to discount that and just focus on getting the much-needed six points," he said.

"Mental strength from our players will be key in those two matches."

It was important for the squad to focus on the task at hand, the skipper believed, but he was confident they could book their place in the global tournament.

"We don't have to think about anything else but the mission at hand which is to take all six points on offer.

"If we are to reach the finals in Brazil, we have to be prepared for any conditions, but I believe we have the potential, we have the team, and we also have the coach to help us achieve our goals."

Khune felt they had the ability to win all three of their remaining qualifying matches, with a home clash scheduled against Botswana after the two away legs.

"We need to collect all nine points on offer in the remaining three qualifiers and, with due respect to the three nations in our group, I am confident we can collect all nine points.

"I played against all three countries and we know what they are capable of. We have to be patient and not panic because they will want to frustrate us, especially in the two away matches.

"We don't just have to create chances but also take them as well. The important thing is to focus the entire 90 minutes and the players must be willing to do more than what is required of them to get victory."

South Africa are lying second in Group A of the African qualifying campaign, two points behind group leaders Ethiopia.

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