Test­ing times for SA teams

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE -

MID­FIELDER Dean Fur­man is con­fi­dent Bafana Bafana will rise to the oc­ca­sion and make the na­tion proud when they meet the Teranga Lions of Sene­gal tonight at Pe­ter Mok­aba Sta­dium in a cru­cial 2018 Fifa World Cup qual­i­fier.

The match kicks off at 7 pm at the Polok­wane venue.

A con­fi­dent Fur­man said the team have had good train­ing ses­sions over the past week and most of the play­ers have shown some amaz­ing fight­ing spirit and sharp­ness. “There has been a good buzz in the camp dur­ing the week and ... in most cases Bafana Bafana rise to the oc­ca­sion in such big matches. If we ex­e­cute our game plan ac­cord­ing to our full po­ten­tial, we should beat Sene­gal. We have proven it in the past that we can beat any­one,” said Fur­man.

“We al­ways re­spond in big games like th­ese. Th­ese are the top end of any big game; th­ese are the games which have been in our minds for some time. Th­ese are the games to show up,” he said, adding that peo­ple talk about Sene­gal’s su­per­stars but for­get about South Africa’s po­ten­tial.

“The stakes are high and we will give ev­ery­thing. At times emo­tions run high when we play in th­ese big games but we must main­tain our dis­ci­pline.”

Coach Stu­art Baxter said all play­ers had worked re­ally well in the past week and he was happy with the vi­brant at­mos­phere. “The play­ers have worked re­ally well; there has not been any shred of ten­sion within the team. The team has re­ally been in a good space,” he said.

He played down talk that the camp has had some drama in the past week, say­ing play­ers, me­dia and at times the pub­lic en­joy some drama one way or the other. “Drama is good for ev­ery­one, even you mem­bers of the me­dia; the only per­son who doesn’t en­joy drama is my­self,” said Baxter, adding the good thing was that the en­tire team had kept the eye on the ball.

The coach said the se­cret was not to give any­thing away. He said he was not wor­ried about Sene­gal su­per­star Sa­dio Mane.

“We are not wor­ried about Sa­dio Mane; he is a good player yes, make no mis­take but if we are to lis­ten to what we hear of him then we are a beaten team. But that is not how foot­ball works. We re­spect him yes but we won’t give him any spe­cial treat­ment,” he said.

Baxter said he was happy with his back­line, mid­field and the po­ten­tial up­front. “We are not go­ing to be­moan the play­ers we miss, we have an ar­ray of good play­ers and if we put ev­ery­thing into this game, we have what it takes to win this game,” he said.

The re­turn leg is in Dakar on Tues­day at 9.30 pm, but will be­come aca­demic should the South Africans not win this evening.

SQUADS: SOUTH AFRICA

Goal­keep­ers: Itume­leng Khune (Chiefs), Wayne Sandi­lands (Pirates), Ron­wen Williams (Su­per­Sport). De­fend­ers: Tham­sanqa Mkhize (CT City), Clay­ton Daniels (Su­per­Sport), Mor­gan Gould (Su­per­Sport), Erick Mathoho (Chiefs), Mot­jeka Madisha (Sun­downs), Tebogo Langer­man (Sun­downs), Thu­lani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Si­fiso Hlanti (Wits). Mid­field­ers: Tiyani Mabunda (Sun­downs), Sibu­siso Vi­lakazi (Sun­downs), Themba Zwane (Sun­downs), Dean Fur­man (Su­per­Sport), Kea­gan Dolly (Mont­pel­lier, France), Kamo­h­elo Mokotjo (Brent­ford, Eng­land), Phaka­mani Mahlambi (Al Ahly, Egypt), Le­bo­gang Manyama (Konyas­por, Tur­key), Siphiwe Tsha­bal­ala (Chiefs). Strik­ers: Percy Tau (Sun­downs), Bradley Grob­ler (Su­per­Sport), Dino Ndlovu (Qarabag, Azer­bai­jan)

SENE­GAL

Goal­keep­ers: Clé­ment Diop (LA Galaxy, USA), Khadim Ndi­aye (Horoya, Guinea), Al­fred Gomis (Spam 2013, Italy).

De­fend­ers: Kali­dou Koulibaly (Napoli, Italy), Lamine Gas­sama (Alanyas­por, Tur­key), Moussa Wagué (Kas Eu­pen, Bel­gium), Fal­lou Di­agne (Metz, France), Adama Mbengue (Caen, France), Saliou Ciss (Angers, France), Yous­souf Sa­baly (Bordeaux, France), Kara Mbodji (An­der­lecht, Bel­gium). Mid­field­ers: Pape Alioune Ndi­aye (Galatasaray, Tur­key), Cheikh Ndoye (Birm­ing­ham City, Eng­land), Cheikhou Kouy­até (West Ham, Eng­land), Idrissa Guèye (Ever­ton, Eng­land), Salif Sané (Hanover, Ger­many), Al­fred Ndi­aye (Wolves, Eng­land), Opa Guette (Metz, France), El Hadj As­sane Dioussé (St Éti­enne, France).

Strik­ers: Keita Baldé Diao (Monaco, France), Moussa Sow (Al Ahly, Dubai), Moussa Konaté (Amiens, France), Sa­dio Mané (Liver­pool, Eng­land), Di­afra Sakho (West Ham, Eng­land), Mbaye Ha­mady Niang (Torino, Italy)

PHOTO: GALLO IM­AGES

Bafana mid­fielder Dean Fur­man says the team will go all out against Sene­gal in tonight’s World Cup qual­i­fier.

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