Cape Town – Bafana Bafana have a “nothing to lose” match
against Nigeria on Wednesday but now is not the time to experiment according to Wade Pretorius.
While Bafana Bafana have secured a ticket to AFCON 2015,
their remaining fixture against Nigeria is anything but a dead rubber.
Should Shakes Mashaba’s men secure a point from the match,
Nigeria will more than likely fail to qualify for the continental showpiece
which will be held in Equatorial Guinea next January.
Wednesday’s fixture thus presents the perfect opportunity
for Bafana Bafana to really gauge how far they have come under Mashaba’s
Bafana Bafana would be wise to treat the match as a “fourth”
AFCON group stage match as it will be played under similar conditions to that
of next year’s AFCON tournament.
There is very little
turnaround time following Saturday’s clash, the match will be played under
difficult conditions with very little “home” support and the starting lineup is
missing . All factors that will come into play in Equatorial Guinea.
Nigeria will always pose a massive threat and ensuring they
do not qualify for AFCON 2015 will go along way to assisting Bafana Bafana in
their quest to bring back the silverware from Equatorial Guinea.
Qualifying for AFCON 2015 is only a quarter of the battle as
local fans yearn for a repeat of the glory days of 1996.
Thulani Serero is an injury doubt ahead of the clash and following
a few sluggish performances, Bongani Ndulula should probably be rested.
Barring those two changes, Shakes Mashaba would be wise to keep
the faith with those who performed so well against Sudan and in the process,
those players will be gathering some much needed high-pressure match “ practice”.
Darren Keet needs added time between the goalposts for
Bafana Bafana after earning just his second cap against Sudan. Rivaldo Coetzee
and Eric Mathoho’s budding partnership at the heart of defence will be tested
severely against the Super Eagles away from home and thus makes for perfect
preparation for AFCON 2015.
Ndulula’s spot could be taken by Kermit Erasmus despite the
Orlando Pirates star’s absence from the bench against Sudan. Erasmus has been
in scintillating form in the PSL this season and deserves a chance to prove his
worth at national level.
Nigeria will be desperate for a win on Wednesday and are
sure to exploit any uncertainty in the Bafana Bafana ranks and “consistency and
continuity” may be the key to stopping Stephen Keshi’s men.