Bafana Bafana take aim at Stal­lions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

SOUTH Africa will want to get their 2018 Fifa World Cup qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign off to a bright start as they take on Burk­ina Faso to­day night at the Stade Du 4 Aout in Ou­gadougou.

Although both na­tions will want to reach the world’s pres­ti­gious foot­ball tour­na­ment, Shakes Mashaba’s men will go out to re­deem their sta­tus af­ter a dis­as­trous Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign.

Bafana Bafana have failed to reach the 2017 Af­con tour­na­ment in Gabon and this op­por­tu­nity al­lows them to re­store their pride.

The South Africans are aware that go­ing to Burk­ina Faso presents chal­lenges, but they will set­tle for noth­ing but a win.

In their pre­vi­ous two of­fi­cial matches, the 2010 World Cup hosts beat Botswana in the Cosafa Cas­tle Cup in Namibia in June be­fore draw­ing 1-1 against Mau­ri­ta­nia in the Af­con qual­i­fiers last month.

How­ever, they man­aged to bag a morale-boost­ing win over the Pharaohs of Egypt in the Nel­son Man­dela Chal­lenge at home.

Mashaba is a man un­der pres­sure af­ter his fail­ure in the Af­con qual­i­fiers and a win is a must for him.

Both na­tions have met eight times — the Stal­lions have won once, drawn three and lost four times against the South Africans

“This is not go­ing to be a walkover. It will be tough but I be­lieve we are men­tally and phys­i­cally ready to wel­come any chal­lenge,” said Mashaba.

“You don’t want to play catch up as we did in the Africa Cup of Na­tions.

“We lost our cam­paign for Gabon in our two open­ing matches when we drew and lost to Gam­bia and Mau­ri­ta­nia re­spec­tively.

“We have learnt our lesson and want to stamp our au­thor­ity from the word go.”

Look­ing at the Stal­lions, they are chas­ing their maiden ap­pear­ance at the World Cup fi­nals in Rus­sia and will want to win this tie.

Coach Paulo Duarte is aware that their task is not an easy one as they will be un­der pres­sure from home sup­port­ers.

A win at home will con­tinue to boost them, es­pe­cially af­ter their suc­cess­ful Af­con cam­paign to reach Gabon.

The fact that they booked a spot in the con­ti­nen­tal tour­na­ment means they are not go­ing to al­low the South Africans to have a free ride in the match.

An­other el­e­ment mak­ing Duarte’s task chal­leng­ing is the fact that he will have to end Bafana’s dom­i­nance on home soil.

Striker Aris­tide Bance, who is fa­mil­iar with South Africa hav­ing played for Chippa United in the PSL, will pro­vide scope to the Stal­lions camp to un­lock their de­fence.

On the other hand, Al Nasr’s Jonathan Pitri­opa will also prove to be a dif­fi­cult man to neu­tralise for the vis­i­tors as they will want to en­sure Bafana head back home empty handed.

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