Libya's former Manchester City midfielder Ahmad Benali wary of facing Bafana Bafana
Posted: 5 September 2018 Time: 20:30
England-born Libyan international midfielder Ahmad Benali says they have done their research on Bafana Bafana and will be targeting maximum points in this weekend’s AFCON qualifier.
Libya have set up camp in Johannesburg ahead of Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations Group E qualifier against South Africa at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
The Mediterranean Knights have been finetuning their preparations at Bidvest Wits’ Sturrock Park base, after arriving in the country on Sunday.
With both sides gunning for top position in the group, Benali, who currently plays for Serie B side Crotone, says they have analysed their rivals’ win over Nigeria in their opening round fixture last year and are confident of holding their own against the hosts.
“We know about South Africa, we’ve seen their game that they played against Nigeria and won, so we know it’s going to be a difficult game,” Benali tells KickOff.com.
“But we’re well organised, we have a new coach [Adel Amrouche] now with new ideas, so we’re looking forward to this weekend’s game.
“The vibe in camp is very good because the team is very young and very excited. I think we’ve got some good players to do well.
“It might take some time to see the best of us but I think, definitely, in the future you’re going to see more of our national team.”
With Bafana having had their own challenges in the way of injuries and withdrawals, the 26-year-old former Manchester City attacker insists they will not read much into Bafana’s issues as they are wary of Stuart Baxter's experience on the continent.
“We don’t really read into the injuries and personal stuff like that, we know it’s going to be a very difficult game because they have some players of a very good standard,” he adds.
“We also know that their manager is very experienced, especially in Africa, and he knows teams very well, so we’re going to be preparing the best way possible because we want to take as many points as possible.”
Benali graduated from the Man City youth team ahead of the 2010/11 season, but spent most of the season with the Premier League club’s reserve side before transferring to Italy in 2012.
Above: Benali in his younger days at English Premier League club Manchester City
He has since played for Palermo and Pescara in the Serie B, and joined Crotone initially on loan in the Serie A in January before they were relegated in May and the club signed him permanently.