BAFANA Bafana have safely arrived in the coastal city of Pointe Noire in Congo for a date with the host nation in a CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations Morocco Qualifer.
The squad touched down on Thursday afternoon after a four hour flight from OR Tambo International Airport.
The match will be played at the Stade Municipial de Pointe Noire today. Kickoff is at 16h30 (SA time).
Head coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba has made it clear to his boys that nothing but a win will be enough.
The Bafana Bafana mentor was the first South Africa coach to face and defeat the same Congo back in 1992.
“It really brings back memories and I want to make it worthwhile by beating them again and qualifying for AFCON 2015 – I believe that would be befitting. If you look at the four teams in the group, the two top teams havent lost a game, and if we continue this way the we (SA and Congo) will go through. So it is up to us to beat them and put one leg into the tournament,” said Mashaba.
“You must also rember that we haven’t qualified for major tournaments in a long time and we must rid ourselves of this mentality of íf only we can get to the next round or we are on a learning curve that is why we are not here for draw. The mission is to quaiify for 2015 and playing for draws won’t help us. We want three points, but at the same time we will not be running like headless chickens. We have to win this one and the home leg and we have one foot in Morocco.”
While stats between the two nations favour South Africa, Mashaba is not focussing on them. In eight meetings, Bafana Bafana have won four times and lost once.
“Sports and mathematics don’t belong together, you don’t have therefore in football. In my view stats don’t have a big role in these games, there are no guarantees because it is about now. It is another day it is another game. We all have to come up with new ideas, new approach and new commitment from the players as well,” added Mashaba.
He is also aware that it is not going to be an easy match.
“In fact, it is going to be a very physical game. It is giong to need a strong match official because with a weaker refeeree it is going to be spoilt match. The referees must exert their authority on it. But if it is open it is going to be open then it will be one of the best games ever, concluded Mashaba.
Asked whether he feels any pressure, he coolly said:
“I don’t feel any pressure at all. The only time I feel pressure is when I have dinner because I know if I don’t finish the food my wife will ask where I had food before coming home.
The squad will complete preparations at the match venue this afternoon.