Igesund: Victory is vital
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Nothing less than three points will do from Saturday night's 2014 Soccer World Cup qualifying clash against the Central African Republic (CAR) in Cape Town, according to Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund.
South Africa go into the game lying in third place in Group A of the African qualifying rounds, after drawing away to Botswana and being held at home to Ethiopia. Those results came under the guidance of Igesund's predecessor, Pitso Mosimane.
With the backing of a relatively successful showing at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations under his belt - the hosts reached the quarter-finals - Igesund was hopeful he could get Bafana's dream of playing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil back on track.
"I've inherited a situation where we only have two points, so it's almost like we have to win every game," Igesund said.
"We want to try and get to a situation where a qualification is in our hands. It's a tricky situation and we have to take it a game at a time.
"We're facing some really tough away games in CAR and Ethiopia due to the conditions."
Igesund believed his squad had the ability, and the hunger, to outclass the visitors this weekend.
"The character of this team has shown that they are willing to fight," he said.
"It's without a doubt a must-win game. You can see from my selection I have an offensive team, players who can change the game at any given time.
"I do not feel that we are under too much pressure, because of where we lie on the table. People don't believe we can qualify, but we certainly believe we can.
"I think the players took confidence from our Afcon showing, and some of them, like May Mahlangu, Dean Furman and Reneilwe Letsholonayne, really put their hands up."
Igesund said he had done as much homework as possible on CAR, who are rated nine places above Bafana in the world rankings, and had devised several plans to ensure victory.
"We watched their game against Egypt, where they played with 10 men for 60 minutes and came back from behind twice to beat Egypt 3-2, in Egypt. So we can't take them lightly.
"They would probably be happy with a point, but for us we have to win.
"We've got plan A, B and C. I think the mistake that Egypt made was trying to go through the middle, and CAR were organised and disciplined.
"They like to be compact and close down quickly, so we need to get wide."
Igesund said the hosts planned to take the game to CAR, and they hoped to control the match by using the width of the field.
"I am fortunate in that I have got two very attacking full-backs, and on the right you have seen what Thuso Phala can do," he said.
"We want to stretch them and use the field as much as possible. That's the reason we have come to Cape Town."