Bafana Bafana

Khune eyes Pharaohs clash

2011-03-17 18:13
Itumeleng Khune (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Itumeleng Khune expects a fit and focused Egypt when South Africa hosts the continental champions in a crunch AFCON qualifier at Ellis Park on 26 March.

Egypt, a seven-time AFCON winner, is a country in transition following last month's ousting of president Hosni Mubarak after nearly three decades of authoritarian rule.

The Pharaohs initially requested the Bafana meeting be postponed as the political upheaval disrupted their domestic footballing calendar.

However, the match will go ahead as planned and Khune believes the visitors will be ready.

"The recent political change in Egypt, in my view, will not have an impact on their preparations," he told Chiefs' official website.

"Their clubs are back in African Club competition. Al Ahly will be playing against SuperSport United this week. So we should not think that they will be coming here lacking match fitness.

"We know that we have a lot of work to do in preparation for this game and we have to look at what we need to do to win the game and not focus so much on the challenges, in a football sense, that the Egyptian team could encounter."

Egypt arrive in the country on Sunday - six days before the clash - and Khune feels this shows they are eager to revive their campaign.

"Egypt are coming here early to prepare for the game so that they can acclimatise to the conditions," he said.

"It won't be an easy game. We are at home and we have a good team. We were the hosts of the World Cup and we have that experience to draw from for this game, as well as the fact that we have so many of our guys in good form. We know the team we are up against but we are positive."

Bafana currently top Group B with four points, three more than bottom-placed Egypt. Niger are second with three points, with Sierra Leone a point behind. All four have played two games. 

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