BAFANA Bafana returned to training on today after a day off yesterday in preparation for the all-important Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Group A leaders Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Sunday.
National team coach Gordon Igesund believes that only victory in the remaining two matches against Ethiopia and Botswana will keep Bafana in contention for the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
With two rounds of matches remaining, South Africa and Ethiopia are neck and neck in the race for top spot in Group A. The Ethiopians lead the group with 10 points, two ahead of South Africa.
The team that finishes top of the group will proceed to the play-offs – to be played on home and away basis. The winners will secure a place to the World Cup scheduled for 2014 in Brazil.
Sunday’s match will take place at the National Stadium, on the same day Central African Republic (CAR) face Botswana in another Group A encounter which has little meaning.
Both Botswana and CAR have been eliminated from the race following their respective losses at the weekend. Botswana only has one point with CAR sitting on t hree, South Africa is third with eight points, two adrift of Ethiopia.
“The situation is self-explanatory; you do not need to be a rocket scientist to see what needs to be done. We both have two games left, so for us only a win will keep us in contention. We needed to get the three points from CAR, and all along I have been saying the key game will be against Ethiopia,” said Bafana head coach Igesund.
“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.”
Midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane and defender Anele Ngcongca were rested from training as a precautionary measure.
“The boys are fine, we just didn’t want to take chances and have them train when resting would serve them better. Letsholonyane has a minor groin strain while Anele is suffering from slight thigh muscles. Tomorrow they will train with the rest of the team,” added Igesund.
The Bafana Bafana mentor is well aware that another solid game plan and execution will see his side through.
“We are studying the video of the match between Botswana and Ethiopia, and I will have a good game plan for Sunday. What I do know is that they don’t have to win the match, a draw will suit them fine so I don’t expect them to attack a lot, but we will have to attack them,” he said.
South Africa will leave Cameroon for Addis Ababa this coming Friday.