Bafana not fazed by ranking

2011-09-22 22:49

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala insists he and his countrymen are not overly concerned with their drop in the world rankings.

The South Africans dropped four places to 51st in the world standings released by FIFA on Wednesday - their lowest position since January - with their 2-1 AFCON 2012 qualifier defeat in Niger three weeks ago the cause of their slip.

But with their crucial final qualifier against Sierra Leone on October 8 in Nelspruit around the corner, the Kaizer Chiefs star is confident that Bafana will not only secure qualification but restore their place on the world stage.

"We will return to our winning ways at Sierra Leone's expense after our defeat in Niamey," Tshabalala told the Sowetan.

"It goes without saying that the defeat by Niger affected us negatively in terms of the rankings. It is disappointing because we had been doing well in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers prior to the Niger match.

"We have to beat Sierra Leone in our final match to qualify for the finals. I don't expect Niger to get a draw or win against Egypt in Cairo.

"Even if Egypt were to field their Under-23 side, there is no way Niger will come out alive. So it is important that we do the job against Sierra Leone.

"Another plus factor is that Egypt have a new coach in Bob Bradley who would want to start his job on a positive note with a win."