DURBAN - SuperSport United midfielder, Dean Furman, believes Bafana Bafana must treat their games against the Seychelles exactly the same as a match against a clash with one of the giants of African football.
Bafana will face Seychelles home and away in their next two African Cup of Nations qualifiers, and anything less than six points in these two assignments will be considered as average, if not a failure. Especially after coach Stuart Baxter's side played out a goalless draw against Libya in Durban on Saturday.
Seychelles are winless in the two qualifiers they have played so far. They were outclassed and outmuscled 5-1 against Libya and Nigeria dispatched them 3-0 this past weekend.
In two matches, Seychelles are pointless and they have conceded eight goals. Bafana have a great opportunity to collect six points and go to 10 points after four matches. Nigeria and Libya should cancel each other while Bafana are busy with Seychelles.
“We can’t afford to take our foot off the gas. It has to be same as if we are going to play Nigeria away and that has to be our focus and mentality. Our focus at training should be treated as importantly as if we are playing Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana or one of the big, big nations. If we don’t, we have seen in world football that upsets happen," Furman said.
"Anything less than a right mentality, we are going to cause ourselves a problem. We have to make sure that we are 100% on it from the moment we get in to camp until the end of the game. Everything has to do with attitude. That’s something that we can maybe work on.”
Bafana failed to qualify for the last edition of the Afcon in Gabon during 2017. The last time they competed in a major tournament was back in 2015 when Equatorial Guinea hosted the biggest showpiece in Africa.
“Some of the defeats that we’ve suffered in the previous campaigns against the so-called lesser sides or unfancied nations should be used as the motivation. We shouldn’t allow that to happen again. That winning mentality, we have to really start bringing that in to the squad," Furman insisted.
Furman has become one of the senior players in the Bafana set up, having earned 47 caps. In those appearances, Furman has participated in two Afcons. “It is for a long time now that we’ve let ourselves down, Bafana Bafana and the country down, by not qualifying for tournaments," he said.
"Until we improve on that and take advantage of these kind of games where we should be picking up three points, we are going to cause ourselves problems going forward. Mentality is everything. We have to approach everything game as if it is a final."