- Published on 07 October 2016
BAFANA Bafana are targeting at least two goals in their opening 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso tomorrow. Kick-off at Stade Du 4 Aout is at 8pm SA time.
Although coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba said he was expecting a tough match, he was nevertheless confident of getting a positive result.
He could not over emphasise the importance of a solid start in the qualifiers, saying it was important to start on a winning note.
“We need two goals in the game to be on the right track,” said Mashaba yesterday. “We know it is not going to be easy as they are a good side but we have done our homework. I did indicate that what worries me is their physique as they are big boys.”
He singled out former Chippa United striker Aristide Bance and a left footed midfielder as their dangermen.
“We need to match them pound for pound and we cannot complain about our (lack of) height. We have to compete.”
Mashaba bemoaned the long travel which forced them to forfeit at least two training sessions.
“We don’t want to make excuses but it is not an acceptable thing. We wasted two days on the road without training and the next thing we had to settle for an artificial pitch. We had just one session at home and the players were a bit sluggish but the session we had here helped us.”
With the temperature rising to as high as 36 degrees, Mashaba also said they should not use the heat factor as an excuse either.
“They will also be playing in the same heat. It is just a psychological thing. We have to step up the gear. We know that they will come hard at us in the opening 10 to 20 minutes and we have to make sure we are stronger.”
Tokelo Rantie’s no show in the camp could have disrupted the technical team’s plans but Mashaba said this was not the case.
“ I always say that in the absence of the best, make the worst the best. We have four strikers and it was not obvious that Tokelo was going to walk straight into the team. Here and there we will miss him but the boys who are here will do the job for us.”
The other strikers in the team are Thamsanqa Gabuza, who is expected to lead the attack, Eleazar Rodgers, Thobani Mncwango and Sibusiso Vilakazi.