Bafana Bafana

Bafana hoping for an upset

2013-11-18 19:03
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - At face value Bafana Bafana should be brushed aside by current World and European champions Spain, but coach Gordon Igesund is confident his team will be a tough prospect for the visiting powerhouse in Tuesday’s friendly in Johannesburg.

"I know we're going to play well. We'll enjoy ourselves out there," Igesund said ahead of the game at FNB Stadium.

"This is a very serious game for both teams. Both teams want to play good football. We are going to be prepared and it’s going to be a very competitive game.

"I want players to go out there and try to score goals. The players are hyped up."

Ranked 60 places lower and almost a thousand ranking points off the pace of the world number one-ranked La Roja outfit, Bafana head into the clash knowing they have nothing to lose, leaving the pressure squarely on the shoulders of their more fancied opponents.

South Africa will look to make it a fourth time lucky, having been beaten in all three of their past encounters with Spain, including two meetings during the 2009 Confederations Cup, as well as a group stage loss during the 2002 World Cup in Korea.

"Over the last 18 months we’ve created an identity in South African football which we never had before," Igesund added.

"It’s a style that the players are getting accustomed to now and enjoying and so are the people who watch. That’s continuity. We need to keep it going now. It’s important for the players to get this experience and it will give us a good gauge of where we are right now."

Despite a 2-0 defeat in the group stages of the Confederations Cup, Bafana matched the Spanish in the other two clashes, going down 3-2 after extra-time in the Confed Cup play-off for third and fourth, and losing by the same scoreline in Korea.

Based on those results, South Africa look to have had the measure of Spain, who are known for their passing style and dominance of possession, but with a full-strength team returning to the ground where they were crowned 2010 World Cup winners, Bafana will have their work cut out.

One of the players who played an integral role in Spain’s 2010 triumph, Atletico Madrid striker David Villa, said he was delighted to be back in the country.

"We have played in different countries since we won the Fifa World Cup," Villa said in Soweto on Sunday evening.

"We are very proud to represent Spain, and it’s good for us to come back to South Africa. It really brings good memories."

Villa’s teammate and club rival, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, echoed the attacker’s sentiments, adding that he was expecting South Africa to come out firing, as the hosts would want to perform well in front of their home supporters.

"The South Africans gave us a lot of support and we are very fond of them," Ramos said.

"All the countries we face are trying to play well against us, because there are a lot of repercussions for beating the champions of the world. South Africa have quality and a strong team and hopefully the game will be a great spectacle."


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