Parker ready for Niger test

2010-09-03 07:48

Johannesburg - Bernard Parker says that Bafana Bafana intend to take heed of lessons learned during the World Cup when they face Niger in their opening 2012 African Nations Cup qualifier on Saturday night.

Carlos Alberto Parreira's side were stunned 3-0 by Uruguay after their opening day draw with Mexico with new Bafana boss Pitso Mosimane warning his side of the importance of concentrating for the full 90 minutes.

Parker said: "The coach also told us we need to keep our heads up if we go a goal down and make sure we fight back. But we do not intend going behind against Niger, so concentration will play a key role.

"The coach has been hammering this point home to us at training this week.

"The Uruguay loss taught us a big lesson. We went on to beat France 2-1 in the World Cup and then we beat Ghana 1-0 in a friendly last month. That shows we have learnt."

Parker added that the 2-1 win over France, who were then rated ninth in the world against Bafana's then 83rd, was a massive boost for the players. They face a different challenge from Niger - ranked 145th in the world - while Bafana have jumped to 66th after the World Cup.

"We showed we could beat a big side like France and also Ghana who were unlucky not to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.

"But we must not allow ourselves to get carried away. We need to rise above them and make sure we stay on our toes."

Parker concluded that he is confident going into the tie.

"Soccer is about scoring goals and that is my job. I am sharp, confident and given the chance, I will get goals against Niger.

"I realise they will sit back and try and defend and it will be the strikers and midfielders' job to break their defence down."