JOHANNESBURG – The zero in Bafana Bafana’s loss column excites and inspires Dean Furman, who is 90 minutes away from appearing in his third Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Furman, who represented South Africa in the 2013 and 2015 editions, is back in the national team fold after missing last year’s clash with Nigeria due to injury.
A win against the Super Eagles at FNB Stadium would have seen Bafana book a ticket to Egypt with a game to spare.
Now they have to do it the hard way, get a result in Tunisia against a Libyan side who are driven to give their countrymen something to cheer about after years of suffering due to political instability and infighting.
Bafana need just a draw against the Mediterranean Knights in Sfax on Sunday (7pm kick-off) to qualify for the continental showpiece.
“I was at the game against Nigeria and the boys did very well,” Furman said, speaking from Tunis. “What we’ve got to remember is that we are undefeated in this group, and obviously if it remains that way we will qualify. We’ve got to take that as a huge positive.
“We’ve taken on one of the best teams in Africa, we beat them away and we put on a good performance at home. So we can come into this camp with a lot of confidence.”
Bafana have opted to camp in Tunis due to better training facilities before making the almost 300km bus ride to Sfax tomorrow. Stuart Baxter’s men are training at the home of Esperance, Stade Olympique d’El Menzah.
The venue is a familiar sight for Hlompho Kekana, Tiyani Mabunda, Themba Zwane and Percy Tau who have been here before with Mamelodi Sundowns.
Thembinkosi Lorch and Innocent Maela recently visited the venue with Orlando Pirates in the CAF Champions League.
The squad Baxter assembled has a sprinkling of everything, from international experience at having played in more than one Afcon. There are also those with Champions League experience, players who have won the biggest prize in club football on the continent, as well as those with European experience. Baxter can also add in players who left their comfort zones to battle it out in the highly demanding leagues like France’s Ligue 1.
Furman is part of the group of players with lots of international experience.
The 30-year-old Furman will earn his 50th Bafana cap should he make an appearance against the Libyans. He travelled the length and breadth of the continent in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup, which SuperSport United lost in the final.