Pitso demands a win
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)
Rustenberg - Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane has called for an ice-breaking win on Sunday in their opening Group A 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
After completing the final session in their two week training session on Saturday - a rare long period in camp - Mosimane felt assured his side would turn the corner this year after a dismall 2011.
"We have the resources to qualify (for Brazil), and we believe we have a team," Mosimane said.
"For me personally and as a coach, I don't care if we play well or not.
"We desperately need a win."
Having failed to progress through to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, the pressure is on the 2010 World Cup hosts to make it to Brazil in two years' time.
With South Africa hosting next year's Afcon, Bafana have to start looking competitive in Mosimane's most critical period as head of the national side.
Bafana's last victory was against Burkina Faso at Ellis Park in August.
While the team has shown good touches on the field, results have not been coming, leaving them winless in the five matches that followed.
The team is balanced, despite earlier interruptions at the start of the camp with goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs' sudden retirement.
This week, there was an injury to defender Siyabonga Sangweni and compassionate leave for forward Thulani Serero.
There also were minor injuries to Oupa Manyisa, while Bongani Khumalo recovered from a tight hamstring, and will replace Sangweni at centre-back in the starting eleven.
"Things have been stable even though we have had set backs, but those happen in professional sport," said Mosimane.
"The medical team has done well with injury management to Bongani and Oupa."
A change that Mosimane wanted to see was better decision making in the final third of the field, particularly as he has a much-improved and confident strike force in the squad led by Katlego Mphela and Siyabonga Nomvethe, who will start against the Ethiopians.
The five strikers scored 60 goals in the Premiership last season.
"We have done all we could at training, working on finishing, we'll see what happens," said Mosimane.
"I don't remember us having a bad game since I've been here (as coach).
"I know we'll play well tomorrow (Sunday), and you'll see, the team will flow.
"But the question has been match temperament, and people taking wrong decisions (in front of goal).
"We pass when we should be shooting, and place when we should be passing.
"Individual brilliance from (midfielders) Steven Pienaar and Siphiwe Tshabalala also needs to come into play."
Mosimane wanted his charges to score early against the "stubborn" Black Lions -- who have not won away since beating Madagascar in 2010 -- to set the tone.
"We need to get an early goal, though football is not about the time, but the scores when the match finishes," he said.
"We must take this, and go to Botswana (in Gaborone next Saturday) with three points.
"The key is to finish on top of this group."
Ethiopia arrived on Friday and will enter the fray without top striker, Fikru Tefera.
The one-time Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United player was reportedly was not released by his Vietnamese club.
Despite this, Mosimane preferred to leave no stone unturned in his planning for the 138th ranked outfit.
The mentor ticked Ethiopian midfielder Getane Kebede as the side's dangerman -- and one player that needed to be neutralised this weekend.
"Oukri is a new sensation and has been scoring all the time," said Mosimane.
"He's 19 years old and full of energy, so we have to be okay in defence."