BAFANA Bafana midfielder Dean Furman says he is looking forward to the international friendly match against Brazil scheduled for FNB Stadium tonight. Kick-off is at 7pm.
The match will form part of the country’s celebrations for the 20 years of freedom. It will also be an occasion to hand over the FIFA World Cup baton to 2014 hosts Brazil as well as an opportunity to unveil the two countries’ new playing kits.
Furman said it was disappointing that Bafana Bafana were not going to the World Cup but highlighted a number of positives in the national team.
“First of all, our work rate is a given. That’s part of our game that will never be questioned. That should be a given to the starting 11 and the subs that will come on. We know against these top sides that anything less than 100 percent, we are going to be found wanting. It’s vital that our work rate should be right up there with everything we’ve got,” said Furman.
The Doncaster Rovers midfielder said the team will go into the match with a positive approach and a winning mentality.
“We want to impose ourselves on the game. Yes we will give them the respect that they deserve, we watch their world-class players on TV every week and we know everything about them. Same as the Spain game, we will give them the respect they are due but great thing about the Spain game is that we grew in confidence as the match progressed. The more and more spells we had, we grew in confidence.
“One thing the coach said at halftime (against Spain) was that ‘why can’t we go on and win this game?’ we had the belief among ourselves. Thankfully we went on and did that and I am sure we will be going into the game with the same kind of belief. We know it’s going to be difficult but we are very much looking forward to it,” he said.
Furman said playing at FNB Stadium was memorable and that it was always inspiring to the players to play in front of a capacity crowd. He urged the local fans to come in their numbers to urge the team on.
“We hope that the fans will come out in their numbers and really get behind us as they did against Spain. As a player there is no better atmosphere than to play in front of a big home crowd that is behind you. It’s definitely exciting to play against the best team in the world, a team that is fancied to win the World Cup. It’s great for us as individuals and collectively to test ourselves against such caliber of team and individual players,” he said.
Meanwhile, coach Gordon Igesund said he had not yet decided on the starting line-up or the captaincy.
“I have not yet decided on my starting 11, I am very close to it. I want to make sure we do things properly. We still have to analyze tapes for the opposition and once I have finalized my starting 11, I will be able to announce the captain,” he said.
The coach said training in the rain did not have any impact on his plans. He also spoke about the disappointment of missing captain Itumeleng Khune.
“The rain is part of the game and missing Itumeleng Khune is a huge blow. He is a top class goalkeeper, probably in the top 10 or top 15 in the world and to miss a goalkeeper like that is a bit of a blow.
“As far as our preparations are concerned, it’s not difficult when you have a squad that has been with you for some time. Most of the players have been with me for 18 months and over those 18 months we have worked on how we want to play, the philosophy and so forth. In the two days that I have had them they understand quickly what we need to do because we have been doing that for 18 months.
“For me it’s very important that we go out there and put up a performance that we are capable of putting up. We have to continue from where we left off against Morocco and against Spain. I am very confident that the guys will put up a very competitive performance tomorrow night,” said Igesund.