There will be no love lost on Friday, according to Bafana Bafana interim coach Steve Komphela, as his side look to end their goal-scoring woes against Gabon in Nelspruit.
The South Africans go into the friendly match fresh off two World Cup qualifying stalemates, against Ethiopia and Botswana, and will be desperate to bag their first win in nine matches.
“International friendlies are supposed to be friendly, but there is no friendliness in these matches,” Komphela said.
“There is pressure with your Fifa rankings that you go in looking to get a result.”
While they would be eager for a morale-boosting victory, however, Komphela said they would need to use the opportunity to experiment with different combinations.
“The other objective that we have to sell to the public is: would you give us an opportunity to try TK (Tokelo Rantie) with (Eleazar) Rodgers, new combinations. It's a huge challenge,” he said.
“Now the responsibility, especially on international coaches when you approach a friendly, is to sell the idea.
“Also with your employers, the (SA Football Association) must understand that we know it is important to have the rankings because they have a huge impact in terms of confidence.”
It was challenging to find a balance, Komphela said, between winning a game and giving fringe players opportunities.
“(We can't go in)again with the same formula that has not given us results,” he said.
“I think we will have to try tweak it, but not too much.
“It's two-fold. The objective is to give people experience and (give them) exposure.
“The other side is not wanting to lose matches, so you have to strike a very good balance.”
South Africa have fallen 21 places in the last 10 months, to 68th position in the Fifa World Rankings.
They have not won a game since defeating Burkina Faso 3-0 in Johannesburg in August. – Sapa