Bafana get rankings boost
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana was counted among the best movers with a rise of four places from 71 to 67 on the latest Coca Cola Fifa World Rankings released on Friday.
South Africa is placed 14th on the continent.
The move should come as a morale booster ahead of South Africa’s 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil qualifier against Ethiopia that will take place on Sunday, 3 June at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng near Rustenburg.
Kickoff is at 15h00.
Bafana Bafana will share the venue with their female counterparts, Banyana Banyana, who will be hosting Nigeria in an international friendly match starting at 19h00, also on Sunday.
Both teams have been practicing in the Northwest Province – with Banyana Banyana’s eye on the Olympic Games to be held in London late next month, while Bafana Bafana are embarking on the road to Brazil in 2014.
“Everyone is anticipating a good game and a win from Bafana Bafana and we promise our supporters that we will go all the way and win the first game and get all three points,” said Khune.
“That is possible with the support of our fans. We know that in the past people have written us off saying we are not delivering as we were not scoring goals, but I think things will change come this Sunday. We haven’t tasted success in the last few games and that is why the nation has lost confidence in us, but I believe good days are coming back starting this Sunday. The more goals we score and win games the more it helps to bring back the crowds.”
But the Kaizer Chiefs captain has also cautioned that it won’t be an easy match despite the visitors being ranked 138th.
“The teams that we think are small are the ones that catch us by surprise because we go into the match thinking we are going to win. So we don’t have to underestimate any opponent because more often than not, small teams are highly motivated to play against the big teams and they will want to prove a point but we are up to the challenge,” added Khune.
Striker Eleazar Rodgers hasn’t been in the national team since 2008 after he played two games against Malawi. He made his debut a year earlier against the same Malawi.
“It’s an honour to be here, and it’s a good feeling because everybody wants to represent their national team. It’s a great opportunity that I got and will use it wisely if I get the opportunity to play. Opportunity is there to be taken, and sometimes we get an opportunity but take it for granted and it never comes back, so I have been lucky to get it the second time around,” said Rodgers.
The Santos marksman only joined the Bafana Bafana camp after the postponement of the National First Division play-offs which his club was involved in.
“Everything happens for a reason, things worked out the way they have and I believe God has put me here for a reason and I will just make the best of it,” he said.
Bafana Bafana will hold their last training session on Saturday (2 June) morning at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.
Ethiopia, who arrived in South Africa on Friday afternoon, will complete their preparations at the match venue on Saturday evening.