Bafana Bafana

Bafana 'can handle' pressure

2011-10-05 19:29
Katlego Mphela (File)

Johannesburg - A full complement of players turned up for Bafana Bafana's training session on Tuesday morning with the arrival of Belgium-based Anele Ngcongca.

The defender was the last player to report for national team duty when he arrived on Monday night.

The national team is to have one more training session in Rustenburg on Wednesday afternoon before departing for Nelspruit on Thursday morning.

Bafana Bafana face Sierra Leone in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The other AFCON Group G qualifying match will see Egypt hosting Niger in Cairo. Both matches kick off at 5pm.

Pitso Mosimane's charges are well aware of the importance of this match, and know that nothing but a win might see them at the finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next year.

"Yes we are feeling the pressure, but it's part of the game we must just know how to deal with it. Playing for your national team is pressure in itself, and this game is even more so but I am used to the pressure and I believe we can deliver. We have quality players in this team that can do the business.

"Sierra Leone is a very physical side and is also good on the ball. The last match against them we struggled on a bumpy pitch but they played well, which tells you they are a good side. But we are ready for them this time," said striker Katlego Mphela.

Mphela travelled to Niamey but missed the last qualifier against Niger due to injury.

"I really wanted to play in that game and to be honest, watching from the stands, I think we should have won, that is why I am so confident we will do well against Sierra Leone.

"And this camp is different from the other ones because it is a must-win match. We must focus on what's in front of us, and forget about what happens in Cairo because we cannot control it," added Mphela.

South Africa's No 1 goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune also does not give Sierra Leone a chance of victory.

"I am confident we can deliver. We played them in Freetown and they showed they are good side, but now we are playing at home and I believe we will get maximum points.

"This match reminds me of the first leg clash against Egypt when no one gave us a chance but we did it."

He added that the game against Niger should not be used as a barometer for the clash with Sierra Leone.

"The fact is that we have been doing well in the last few months, losing to the USA last year and recently to Niger, but people should not write us off. As a goalkeeper I always want to keep a clean sheet but I know it's a team effort and we are capable of doing that. In fact we are good enough to win this match. The Niger result set us back a lot but it's all in the past, we must go out there and do it against Sierra Leone."

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