Bafana Bafana striker Bernard Parker says the national team players are well aware of the significance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Botswana and that they will go out to represent the country with pride.
Bafana completed another day of training as they prepared for their meeting Botswana in the in the final group match to be staged at Moses Mabhida Stadium. The match will be played on Saturday, kick-off at 15:30.
The Kaizer Chiefs striker said the importance of the match could not be over emphasized as
Botswana also have something to play for.
“We expect Botswana to come at us guns blazing but we are focused on winning the match. All week long the coach has been emphasizing the importance of making the right decisions in the final third of the field.
“He also drummed it into us that we need to be more composed and clinical in front of goals especially with so many chances we are creating. He again told us to have self-belief because then we can use our ability to score goals and win, but we are all positive minded,” said Parker.
Meanwhile, Belgium-based defender Anele Ngcongca said the desire to win was great.
“We know Botswana are no pushovers because they, like us, have everything to play for. And although our fate is not in our hands we are determined to win and end the group stage on a high. The desire to win is deep and we are going there to give our all,” said the right-back.
“It won’t be a formality as Botswana is still in the running but we are ready for them we have prepared well. We have to stick to the coach’s game plan and we’ll succeed. I just hope CAR beats Ethiopia but having said that, we still need to go out and beat Botswana.”
Ngcongca missed the Nelson Mandela Challenge clash against Nigeria due to his Belgian club not allowing him to travel. He was subsequently banned by FIFA and missed his club during that week. But the player stressed his commitment to Bafana and said he was thrilled to be back.
“It is all water under the bridge, I’m happy to be in the squad and playing again for my country. We had a challenge back then but it has since been sorted by both my club and SAFA – so it just feels good to be back,” he said.
Despite matters not being in their own hands, Bafana Bafana know that they have a good chance of going to the play-off. For that to happen, they need to beat Botswana and hope for a favourable result in the match between Ethiopia and the Central African Republic.
In the event of a loss to Ethiopia, South Africa will be on 11 points – one more than the East Africans – while a draw will see both countries level on 11 points. Bafana Bafana will then proceed to the play-off stage of the qualifiers on a better goal-difference after scoring five goals without reply against CAR. South Africa defeated that nation 2-0 in Cape Town and 3-0 in Cameroon. However, a win for Ethiopia or a defeat for Bafana Bafana will end South Africa’s hopes of going to Brazil.
Bafana Bafana will have their last training session on Friday (6 September) at the Moses Mabhida Stadium at 11h00. The first 15 minutes will be open to the media, with the rest of the session closed.