Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
Ahead of Bafana Bafana’s first home match under his tutelage, Gordon Igesund was still speaking fondly of their performance against Brazil, challenging his men not to take the foot off the pedal when they take on Mozambique in Mbombela this evening (8.30pm).
Igesund wants to build on what he says was a “positive start” to his regime, when Bafana and Brazil were only separated by a second-half goal by Hulk in Sao Paulo last Friday.
While South Africa fought manfully in that friendly – against the world’s most successful national football side – tonight’s clash against Mozambique should be Igesund’s real test, with Bafana having never failed to beat the Mambas in their three previous meetings.
Igesund will tonight demand of his men to show the same “character and fighting spirit” seen in their narrow |1-0 defeat to the Selecao.
“We played in front of 50 000 people in Brazil, and the guys were really pumped up. I want them to be the same [tonight],” Igesund said after concluding Bafana’s only training session at Mbombela Stadium before this evening’s meeting with the Mozambicans.
“We need to play all games with the same attitude, same commitment and passion – that’s what I want to instill in these players. You can’t afford to be complacent because you did well against Brazil.”
He continued to describe the trip to Sao Paulo as “excellent” in spite of defeat, something which has raised eyebrows, with cynics accusing Igesund of celebrating a loss.
“The Brazil trip was excellent. We played against a very good team that, even though they were not on form, had world class players. A lot of people misinterpreted our happiness regarding the Brazil match.
“Of course we were not happy about losing; we want to win every game. But we had to be pleased with the effort and commitment the players put in.
“They showed tremendous fighting spirit and adapted quickly to our methods. There certainly were a lot of positives out of that game.”
One of the people critical of Bafana’s performance last Friday was former national coach Ted Dumitru, who reportedly described the Brazil side that faced Bafana as SA’s worst ever opponents.
Quizzed on this, Igesund was loath to comment, but ended up commenting anyway.
“Who’s that guy [Dumitru]? We got all our people watching the game there and here on TV and 99 percent of them said we played well.
“We never allowed Brazil an inch to play. How can they be the worst side when they had two players from Barcelona, three from Real Madrid, two from Chelsea?
“I’ve got no comment on people who have agendas. They must carry on because they are entitled to their opinions. I know what I’m doing and what I’m trying to achieve,” Igesund said.
The immediate goal for tonight’s clash is clear: give some of the players who didn’t get a chance against Brazil a run.
“Obviously we have to change the team a bit… try one or two situations,” Igesund said when asked about changes to his line-up.
“I cannot field the strongest team all the time. The bigger picture is the African Nations Cup [next year] and we don’t have a lot of time.
“It’s not important for us to have good form now and disappoint at the Nations Cup. We will try to win [tonight’s game] convincingly, but we also have to strike a balance because we need to see if everybody is ready for this stage.”
Mozambique come into tonight’s game having shocked Morocco 2-0 at the weekend in a Nations Cup qualifier.
* Watch SA v Mozambique tonight on SABC1 at 8.30pm