Bafana ready for key qualifier
Cape Town - South Africa will resume their 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup qualifying campaign with a key match against Central African Republic at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 20:15.
Bafana Bafana find themselves placed third in the four-team Group A after successive draws against Ethiopia and Botswana last year. Those stalemates mean this clash against CAR is virtually a must-win for coach Gordon Igesund, who is taking charge of his first qualifier since taking over the reins of the national team.
A victory in the Mother City on Saturday night would put Bafana Bafana top of the standings, temporarily at least, ahead of log-leaders Ethiopia hosting Botswana the following day.
This will be the first clash between South Africa and Central Africa Republic - either in a friendly or competitive fixture. ‘Les Fauves’ (the Wild Beasts) have never qualified for either the Africa Cup of Nations or the World Cup, though they very nearly reached the AFCON held earlier this year in South Africa. They were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by the tournament runners-up Burkina Faso in the final phase of qualifying.
CAR are placed second on the Group A standings after an opening day home win over Botswana and a 2-0 reverse against Ethiopia in their second clash. They have called-up a strong, mostly foreign-based squad for this clash, though quite who will coach them remains to be seen.
Former coach Jules Accorsi will apparently be back at the helm after being ‘recalled’ by the country’s new government, while current incumbent Herve Loungoundji may return to his former role as assistant.
Regardless, this match is an absolutely key encounter for Bafana Bafana, with Igesund emphasising the need for three points when he announced a 23-man squad to face the Wild Beasts last week.
“This is a huge match for us. We are in a position where we should not be because I believe at this stage of the competition we should have been top of the Group. We need to win this one to keep ourselves in the race; that is why I have gone for a very offensive team. Hopefully, we can resume this campaign on a good note. There is no room for errors,” said the Bafana Bafana coach.