Bafana Bafana

High altitude worries Igesund

2013-06-11 10:17
Gordon Igesund (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund feels the high altitude of their next venue could be problematic in their quest to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year.

Bafana tackle Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Sunday, and a victory will see Bafana leapfrog them as frontrunners in their qualifying group.

Ethiopia's 2-1 win over Botswana in Gaborone on Saturday took them to 10 points in Group A, two ahead of South Africa. But a win for Bafana on Sunday will mean they have their destiny in their own hands when they face Botswana at home in their final qualifying match in September.

But Igesund, whose team thrashed the Central African Republic (CAR) 3-0 on Saturday, is slightly worried about Sunday's clash.

"Johannesburg is at 1 600m, Addis Ababa is 800m higher," he told the SportLIVE website. "So there's no air up there. I'll try and save the players with the way we play tactically.

"And I've brought a team in which I have players who can change a game, like Richard Henyekane and Tlou Segolela, if I want to go that route, and get players in behind Ethiopia.

"I think with the character the players have shown, and the passion... to get to the World Cup. It's going to be tough but we've got a chance."

Igesund said the players know what is expected of them.

"The situation is self-explanatory... you do not need to be a rocket scientist to see what needs to be done," he told SAPA.

"We (Bafana and Ethiopia) both have two games left, so for us only a win will keep us in contention. We needed to get the three points from the Central African Republic, and all along I have been saying the key game will be against Ethiopia.

"But the nice thing is that it is in our hands. We need to win this game and then beat Botswana and qualify for the next and final round of qualifiers. We have to take each game as it comes, but a draw is not good for us. I am confident we will be well-prepared for this match."

Sunday's fixture will take place at the National Stadium, the same day CAR face Botswana in the other Group A match. Both sides have already been eliminated from the race, following their respective losses at the weekend.

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