Bafana's pride is at stake


“We need to take each game seriously, because we not only play for South Africa, we also play for our supporters, our family and our friends. We’re looking for the three points and salvage some pride!”

Nzalang Nacional will host South Africa in their final World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Both teams have already failed to qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

“No player goes out onto the field to lose a game,” says defender Bevan Fransman, making it clear that Bafana's intentions are to win the encounter.

“A victory will be good for the morale.”

The game will be played at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo on Saturday afternoon. Kick off at is at 17h00, South African time.

South Africa have had a horrifying qualifying campaign, as the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations winners have only gained four points from their five encounters played so far.

Their sole win came against Equatorial Guinea in June, winning 4-1 at home. Nzalang Nacional are on three points and a win will see them finish above South Africa in Group 4.

Bafana coach Joel Santana, who took over from his fellow Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira, has stressed that no changes are to be expected.

However, his compatriot Jordan de Freitas, who coached Equatorial Guinea, has not been so lucky.

The Brazilian was fired after Nzalang Nacional’s 1-0 loss at home to Nigeria and was replaced by Spanish coach Vicente Engonga, the first black to play for the Spanish national team. Engonga’s father originates from Equatorial Guinea, his mother from Spain.

Engonga lost his first game in charge against Sierra Leone 2-1 and the coach will obviously want to show that he’s the right man to take Nzalang Nacional further on the road to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, which will be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Bafana lost their last qualifier at home against Nigeria 1-0.

Since then, however, Bafana have beaten Malawi 3-0 in a friendly at Germiston Stadium.

Two of the three goals were scored by Thanda Royal Zulu striker Bernard Parker, who is included in the Bafana squad.

Santana also called up young midfielder Michael Modabi, who plays in Belgium for Westerlo.

“I am extremely happy with my call-up,” comments the 23-year-old, “there's nothing to play for, but we still have a good squad. We want to win, if only as a motivational tool on the road to the Confederations Cup next year.”

Two players have withdrawn from the original selection by Santana, midfielder Macbeth Sibaya, whose grandmother passed away, and reserve goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, who injured his wrist.

To replace the Orlando Pirates’ keeper, Santana called up Shu-Aib Walters from Bloemfontein Celtic and the experienced, former Bafana goalkeeper, Brian Baloyi.