Bafana ready for Egypt


BAFANA Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane says they will fight like soldiers when they
tackle Egypt in their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash against the hosts.
The match will be played tomorrow at the Military Academy Stadium.
Kick-off is at 8.30pm

“We have to be calm, focussed and try to relax but not be too excited. We’ve done
our job of preparing the team and we are ready. We will exhaust ourselves in the
match, and fight like soldiers for a positive result. I believe we are playing Egypt
at the right time when we feel very confident. I know we have the ammunition to
absorb the pressure associated with such a match, and I have a strong belief we can
cause a surprise. We haven’t conceded in the three matches of the qualifiers, and we
intend to keep it that way,” said Mosimane.

But the head coach was still concerned about captain Steven Pienaar who is
struggling to shake off a knee injury he sustained on the last day of training
(Thursday, 2 June 2011) in South Africa shortly before the team’s departure for
Cairo. The squad’s medical department is working round the clock to get the midfield
kingpin ready for Sunday. He has been training on his own, even on Saturday.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed that he will be able to lead the team against
Egypt. We have about 24 hours before the match so we will keep monitoring his
progress, and I hope he makes it. I am waiting for the final report from the medical
team before we take a decision. If he doesn’t I will be disappointed but it’s not a
crisis we will be able to fill his position with a capable player,” added Mosimane.

Vice captain Siphiwe Tshabalala will replace Pienaar as captain if the latter does
not recover in time for the match .

“Everything in camp has gone very well up to this point except for the knock that
our captain sustained. All the players are hoping he makes it because he is a very
influential player on the field and a very good leader. But if he is not there we
have players to take his place and I know they are also up for the task. As for me
it would be an honour to captain my country in such a big match, more so this is the
same country where I made my debut five years ago playing against the same Egypt. We
are confident that we will do well, with so much support coming from all quarters,”
said Tshabalala.

South Africa’s ambassador to Egypt, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya also addressed a media
briefing to welcome the team in Cairo. She will be meeting the team on Sunday before
the match.

“This is a very important fixture ahead of us for both countries. We are here to
lend support to Bafana Bafana on behalf of our government and give assurance that
their stay will be safe. Inhabitants of the two countries are looking forward to
this crucial match and we are hoping that as sport brings people together we will be
able to have a good match. Pitso you have our support, and all the best to your
team,” said Mayende-Sibiya.

Bafana Bafana have also received a message of good luck from South Africa’s minister
of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula who was unable to travel to Egypt.

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