Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund says his side will be well prepared when they face Mali
Posted: 2 February 2013 Time: 09:40
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund says his side will be well prepared when they face Mali in the quarter-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday night.
The hosts are unbeaten so far in the tournament and finished on top of Group A having drawn against Cape Verde and Morocco, while they managed to collect maximum points against Angola.
Mali on the other hand have tasted defeat as they went down 1-0 to Ghana in their second group match, but have put that result behind them as they managed to qualify for the quarter-finals as the second best team in Group B.
"Obviously we know what's at stake, we know what we have to do and we know how we're going to play," said Igesund.
"We know who to take care of in their team and our preparations have gone very well.
"It's going to be a fantastic game, I think. Both teams are worthy of their spots in the quarter-finals and both teams want to get through to the semi-finals."
Igesund has used the same starting line-up for the past two matches against Angola and Morocco and has promised to make a few changes this time around, including the forced exclusion of the suspended Anele Ngcongca.
The coach also played down the much talked about physical advantage that the Malians are expected to enjoy by stressing that his side will stick to their game plan.
"I've considered every player and I can tell you now I'm not going to have the same team out there,' said Igesund.
"Whether they are big or not big - we've got the players with great agility, speed and great presence of mind and at the moment the guys have really shown me that they are playing with confidence.
"The players have started to understand now that we are very capable and we have to keep the ball moving around and play with the pace that we've got; we need to play to our strengths.
When the two sides met in the quarter-finals of the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali it was the hosts who prevailed 2-0, but Igesund says they are not paying much attention to those statistics.
"What's important to understand is that 2002 is a long way away and we're not even thinking about what happened before, we're focused on what we have to do now," he said.
The winner of this clash will face the winner of the quarter-final between Ivory Coast and Nigeria, which will take place at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday.