Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Thulani Serero believes Bafana Bafana will be up for the challenge when they host Botswana in a 2014 FIFA World Cup set for Saturday at Moses Mabhida Stadium, kick-off at 15h30.
The two nations last met in this competition in September last year in the first leg in Gaborone, with Kaizer Chiefs defender Morgan Gould scoring for South Africa as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
For the first time since the start of camp, Bafana Bafana had a full compliment of players after all 23 players reported for camp. The players trained under overcast conditions at People’s Park with Serero stating afterwards that players were fully aware of the expectations from this match.
“It will be a different and more disciplined Bafana Bafana side that will meet Botswana on Saturday. At our last meeting, we had just lost our coach (Pitso Mosimane) and did not play well that day. But this time it will be different. We have a new coach in Gordon Igesund, a new style of play and we are stronger all round and have a different mentality. We all know we have to win to give us a chance to advance and we will be up for the challenge,” said Serero.
The Ajax Amsterdam midfielder last played forBafana Bafana in Durban during the Africa Cup of Nations tournament earlier in the year. The player said he was happy with his current form.
“I was troubled by injuries last season but I am a bit more settled now and it has been easier for me since the start of this season. I am more mature than I have been during the past two years at Ajax. I am looking forward to playing and doing my bit for Bafana Bafana,” he said.
Both South Africa and Botswana need maximum points to have any chance of progressing to the next and final round of qualifiers, and with that in mind, Serero said he expected their opponents to attack.
“It will suit us if they come to play an open game. That means we can hit them on the counter .I am confident we can do the business and win. We are much stronger and things are looking good for us,” concluded the midfielder who has played 12 times for Bafana Bafana.
Serero’s confidence was shared by Tokelo Rantie who added that with Bafana Bafana creating numerous chances in matches, the goals will come.
“There is always pressure when you play for the national team but we have to be focused. As for me I don’t think there is any pressure for me to score, even though the nation expects the team to hit the back of the net, especially in this match,” said the striker.
“I believe I am up for the challenge of unlocking the Botswana defence. The confidence is high in the camp and the players know we have to win to stand any chance of going to Brazil in 2014.”
Botswana announced a 23-man squad that arrived in Durban on Wednesday (4 September), which includes seven players based in South Africa. They have included a number of players who are based on South Africa.
“I expect Joel Mogorosi of Bloemfontein Celtic and Mogakolodi Ngele of Platinum Stars to play a key role for Botswana. Both players know our style of play and will be helping their coach with information,” said Orlando Pirates winger Daine Klate.
“Also, their players will want to be in the shop window as this match will be watched by every PSL coach. So I expect they will play above themselves, but we’re ready. We just need to concentrate for 90 minutes and stick to our game plan.”