Bafana Bafana

Shakes wants unbeaten run

2014-11-17 21:00
Shakes Mashaba (Gallo)

Johannesburg - As Bafana Bafana depart for their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria, coach Shakes Mashaba says they will not take the game lightly, despite having already qualified for the continental event to be staged in Equatorial Guinea next year.

"Nigerians don't want to lose against South Africa. That alone will make this match a tough one and we also have the assignment to break the hoodoo that we always lose when we play against them," Mashaba said after the team's final training session in Pimville, Soweto on Monday.

"We have to go out there positive and believe we will do well."

South Africa play the Super Eagles at the Ibom International Stadium in Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday. Kick off is at 19:00(SA time).

Following their 2-1 victory over Sudan in Durban on Saturday, Bafana finished top of Group A. Nigeria will be hoping for a victory in their final game or they could lose out to Congo-Brazzaville, who are level with them on seven points, with their final match again Sudan on Wednesday.

Mashaba said there was still work to be done as when they take on one of the superpowers of African football.

"We are defending well but there are still some things we need to do, especially in the middle of the park where we are not picking opponents tight and that will cause us problems especially against a team like Nigeria which is very good in that area."

Midfielder and Man of the Match against Sudan, Thulani Serero sat out of Monday's training with a hamstring injury, while striker Lehlohonolo Majoro, who missed the match because of an ankle sprain, was able to train with the squad.

While both players were travelling to Nigeria with the squad, Serero was doubtful for the Nigeria match and Mashaba was contemplating changes to the starting eleven.

"There will be one or two changes to the playing personnel but we don't want to break the rhythm of the team because they are doing very well. At the same time we have to give other players a chance to see what they have to offer," Mashaba said.

"Our away record is very good, and we can only hope for the best in the upcoming match. What makes me happy is that we have managed to score two goals at home which was a challenge in our past home games.

"I will be even happier if we score some goals in Nigeria."

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Bafana Bafana have been drawn with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in the qualification stages for the 2017 AFCON tournament. Where will Shakes Mashaba's men finish in their pool?

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