Igesund wary, but confident
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
"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
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
"I want to play offensive football, we’re playing at home in front of a
"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."