CAPE TOWN – Bafana Bafana’s European-based stars are ready to step up against Nigeria in their 2019 Afcon qualifier this Saturday (6pm).
New South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has called up overseas stars such as Kermit Erasmus, Keagan Dolly, Bongani Zungu and Lebogang Phiri for their tough assignment in Uyo this weekend.
And Portugal-based midfielder Zungu and France-bound anchorman Phiri believes SA’s foreign legion bring a different dimension to the side. With the Super Eagles boasting a host of Euro stars, they want to match them and inspire their own PSL teammates.
Vitoria Guimaraes man Zungu says: “When you play that side you get to improve as a player, you play in hostile stadiums and that builds character.
“Also if you look at it, football abroad is a step or two ahead and if we can get more players overseas it will help South African football tremendously because with the experience we get that side we will be able to do more for our country.
“I just hope we can have more numbers and get to bigger clubs where we will also play Champions League and that will be good for our nation because that’s what we need.
“If you check the likes of Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana they have a lot of players in the highest leagues abroad and that helps their game, it helps when it comes to competitions.
“It’s a step forward if we can get the most of us.”
Phiri reckons that Baxter, now in his second spell as Bafana Bafana coach, and his new technical team have prepared the team well so far, as they traveled to Nigeria on Tuesday night.
The 22-year-old from Alexandria Township in Joburg urged his teammates to take their chances against the Super Eagles, who Bafana have never beaten in a competitive game.
The new Guingamp man says: “I am confident, especially about all the players who have been picked. Of course, they are a tough opposition especially in Nigeria.
“But with the confidence the players have in this squad, and the experience that we have, we should utilise every opportunity that we have going into the game and express ourselves – and that’s the most important thing to do.
“They have big guns, but we also have great players, therefore we have to work as a team because victory will not just pitch up, we have to work for it, regardless of who is on the pitch.”