No pressure on Bafana - coach
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund believes the 1-0 loss to Poland on Friday might be the catalyst his squad needs to go for victory against the Harambee Stars of Kenya.
The two teams meet in an international friendly on Tuesday at Nyayo Stadium. Kick-off is at 18:00 South African time.
South Africa and Kenya last met in February 2011 at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng near Rustenburg, where the home team ran out 2-0 winners with goals from Davide Somma and former captain Steven Pienaar.
This time, both sides have new coaches, with the much-travelled Henri Michel, formerly with Mamelodi Sundowns, now in charge of Kenya.
This will be Michel's first match in charge of Kenya, while Igesund is in his fourth match with the national team.
Bafana Bafana are ranked 76th on the FIFA World rankings, with Kenya in 128th position.
"We are trying a number of combinations in preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament. We have 26 players in camp and some didn't play against Poland, so this will be their chance to also get a run.
"We have to juggle the squad around so that we have a clear picture when we name the final squad for the tournament," Igesund said.
"We haven't started tactical work yet because the current idea is to watch as many players as possible. In the next three weeks or so I will be 70 percent certain of my final squad, but for now it is still a work in progress."
Igesund said losing to Poland had not put the team under any pressure because they were more concerned with the bigger picture.
"There is no pressure at all because we are in the preparatory phase. I would rather lose to Poland and Kenya, but do well in the AFCON."
The players believe they can defeat Kenya.
"Obviously we were very disappointed to lose to Poland. We did well in the first half, but we became eager to win in the second half and lost shape. We all know we should have done better," said midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi.
"We learnt a lot as a team from that clash, but it is now behind us and we have a match against Kenya to take care of. We are looking forward to that encounter and we are hopeful we will rectify the Poland mistakes and come up with a good win."
Captain Bongani Khumalo says the team will need some time to become a well-oiled machine.
"The coach has spoken about trying different players and combinations, and we all know that the chemistry of success doesn't come overnight. I believe we have good players with a strong mentality, and we are doing our best to get to know each other's style of play and have an understanding.
"Against Kenya we will have to go out and do the best and I believe we should come out with a positive result," Khumalo said.