Khune prepared for a fight


SOUTH Africa's number one goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, is aware that
they are in for a ferocious battle when they take on the seven-time
continental champions Egypt in their Group G 2012 Africa Cup of Nations
qualifying match at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium on Sunday night,
kick-off at 8.30pm

Bafana Bafana have a chance to eliminate the 2010 AFCON champions in
their home town, but Khune knows it will be no easy task as the Pharaohs
are fighting for their lives. 

"We are under no illusion that it is going to be easy, but we showed
character in our first match against them to get the win. We also went
to Freetown and came back with a point, so I see no reason why we can't
do the same in Egypt," explained the South African shot-stopper.

If South Africa do manage to pick up all three points in Cairo they
could in fact eliminate Egypt from qualifying for the competition.
Should Bafana win they will see themselves on ten points while the
Pharaohs would be stuck on one point with only two games to go.

With this in mind, Egypt's coach Hassan Shehata admits the games against
South Africa will make or break their qualifying campaign: "The first
match against South Africa and the one coming up will be the decider of
who goes to Gabon next year. We were not prepared as well as we should
have been for the first game. The revolution made it hard for the
players to arrive in their best condition, but we hope we will win this

Khune believes that they have the best possible players to overcome
Egypt and qualify for the 2012 AFCON competition: "I am happy with the
core of the team, more so because we are all regulars at our clubs which
benefits the national team immensely. The guys have been working their
socks off during our time in camp and that will help a great deal when
it comes to a match situation.

"There has been a lot of commitment from the players at training because we know that Egypt will be more prepared than in our last meeting with them. Going to Egypt with such a formidable group of players brings nothing but confidence among us," added the Kaizer Chiefs man. Bafana have played two international friendlies against the Pharaohs in Cairo with each team having won one a match, the scorelines on both occasions reading 2-1. This trip to Cairo, however, will be South Africa's first competitive away match against Egypt. In conclusion, one of the Pharaohs superstars, Mohamed Zidan, feels he is at his best and believes his team can get back to their winning ways and still qualify for AFCON 2012. "We need to get out of that dark tunnel we're in at the moment in order to repeat the achievement of being champions of Africa. I believe we can do it. I feel I'm living my best football days and I want to make use of that."

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