Khune out to thwart Nigeria bonus
Posted: 15 November 2018 Time: 18:00
Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune takes great pride in collecting clean sheets and is intent on keeping his AFCON qualification record intact.
Khune is one of only two glovemen on the continent – the other being Uganda’s Denis Onyango – yet to concede in the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Bafana veteran and his defence have registered four clean sheets in four outings thus far, while the team’s attack have amassed eight goals.
This record will once again come under threat when they take on Group E rivals Nigeria in a top-of-the-table clash at FNB Stadium on Saturday (15h00).
With the Super Eagles having been promised $25,000 (R350 000) for each goal scored, Khune is by no means going to let that intimidate him as he targets his 39th clean sheet in 91 senior international matches.
“It’s a good record for us as a team, having kept four clean sheets in four games, but we’ve been working hard as a team and been encouraging all the departments to play their part and do well for the team,” said the 31-year-old.
“We’re still unbeaten, we still haven’t conceded a single goal, we’ve scored the greatest number of goals [in the group], so those are the things we [take confidence from].
“But we keep telling ourselves that we must keep our feet firmly on the ground and keep grinding for more [solid performances].
“We obviously have to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally because we know how tough it is to play against West African countries.”
The Kaizer Chiefs number one has also identified areas in which Bafana need to capitalise if they are to get the all-important points needed to book their tickets to Cameroon.
“They are going to want to bully us, so the only advantage we have is that we have players with small frames but are much faster on the ball,” he added.
“They are very tall and big, and very slow. So what we need to capitalise on is moving the ball around quickly and getting into small pockets of space, and even utilising the spaces behind their defence and then converting our chances.”