13 October 2014 18:04
South Africa will take a huge step towards qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations if they beat Congo on Wednesday.
But Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has warned that Claude Le Roy’s charges will be like “wounded tigers” in the wake of South Africa’s 2-0 victory on Saturday in Pointe-Noire.
The Group A leaders would have 10 points from their four games if victorious at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane this week – a dominant lead given Nigeria’s stumbling form which sees them on just one point from three outings.
“We want to do it. Even if it’s 1-0, even if there was a half-nil, I would say let’s take it and get the three points,” Mashaba said about the upcoming clash.
“We said the tougher game will be at home. Because now we beat them, and they will come back as wounded tigers.”
South Africa goalkeeper and current captain Senzo Meyiwa has been in outstanding form and is a large part of why Bafana Bafana are one of only two teams in the AFCON qualifiers that are yet to concede a goal.
After a stunning display in Congo at the weekend, he has already put that performance in Pointe Noir behind him and is focused on the next match.
“That [Congo] victory is water under the bridge,” Meyiwa said. “Now it is back to work and show the coach we are ready to face the next battle.
“We did the most difficult thing, to go to Congo and get a clear victory is not a joke. Here we will stay calm and just do the basics right.”
A point would see Le Roy’s side maintain their place in the automatic qualification spots with games against Sudan and Nigeria to come and the 66-year-old French veteran of African football is keen to see his side cut out the kind of mistakes that cost them on Saturday.
“We were well prepared, but that’s football,” Le Roy said after the defeat.
“We knew that South Africa are dangerous down the middle and are strong on the counter.
“We conceded a first goal as a result of a technical mistake and after, as it often happens in football, we conceded another one from a counter-attack while trying to get an equaliser.
“We created a lot of chances, but we made far too many mistakes. However, it shows that the players were not ready to give up.
“We need to congratulate the South Africans, and it is now up to us to show that we can repeat what we achieved in Calabar against Nigeria [a 3-2 victory], in Polokwane on Wednesday.”