Bafana Bafana

Igesund wary, but confident

2013-09-06 15:43
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)

Durban - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund believes if his side played to their full potential, Botswana should not cause the hosts any problems in their crunch final World Cup qualifier at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.

"Botswana are going to be tough, but in my humble opinion, if Botswana play to their maximum level and we play at the level we need to be, I don’t think it will be a match," Igesund said.

Igesund, however, warned that the 67th-ranked hosts can in no way underestimate the 101st FIFA-ranked Zebras.

Both teams need victory to have any chance of reaching the final round of qualifiers for the global showpiece in Brazil next year.

"I’ve stressed to them that you just cannot write off Botswana as a lot of people have done… this is World Cup football," Igesund said on Friday.

"Scores of five and six nil don’t happen anymore. All international games are tight.

"We drew with them 1-1 in the first round, so why should it be six nil now?"

The Ethiopians, on top of the pool with 10 points, must either lose or draw to Central African Republic (CAR) for Bafana (eight points) to have a chance of reaching the final qualifying stage, while Botswana (seven points) have to hope the leaders lose.

That match, which kicks-off simultaneously, will be played in Brazzaville, Congo due to political unrest in CAR.

Igesund said he will not be worrying about proceedings in the Congolese capital during the game.

"There’s little point in doing that and I spent a little bit of time reminding my players not to worry what’s going on elsewhere," he said.

"We have to focus on what we need to do and let the other result take care of itself."

He singled out Botswana’s South African-based trio of Mogakolodi Ngele from Platinum Stars, SuperSport United’s Mogogi Gabonamong and Joel Mogorosi of Bloemfontein Celtic as those to look out for.

The South Africa coach also revealed he was pleased with the week-long build-up to the match, having had the players for the entirety.

"The players have trained well and all have put their hands up, which is fantastic for me," Igesund said.

"It’s made me really think and it wasn’t easy at all to select the starting line-up.

"I want to play offensive football, we’re playing at home in front of a nice crowd.

"I want them to go out there from the first whistle and score as many goals as possible."

Opposite number Stanley Tshosane was equally bullish, saying that Botswana, who had never qualified for a World Cup in their history, were "physically and mentally" prepared.

"We are very much aware that we’ve never been so close to qualifying for the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers," Tshosane said.

"We really respect South Africa and we know they are a very good team, but I believe we are equally prepared.

"We are going to approach this game with one thing in mind, that for us to reach the targets we set out, we have to win on Saturday."


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