Testing times for SA teams
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)
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)
Bafana midfielder Dean Furman says the team will go all out against Senegal in tonight’s World Cup qualifier.