Bafana Bafana take aim at Stallions
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.