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it's do or die

By unknown | Sep 05, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

South Africans will be holding their breath hoping Bafana Bafana get that all important win over Nigeria's Super Eagles at Port Elizabeth Stadium tomorrow.

Bafana Bafana are under tremendous pressure to get a positive result to enhance their chances of making it to the MTN Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola in 2010.

A defeat will see the once-feared Bafana Bafana missing out on the finals of this biennial continental show soccer piece for the first time since 1996.

Bafana Bafana's 2-all draw against Australia in London two weeks ago has raised the hopes of many South Africans ahead of this match.

For a change, Bafana Bafana played as a unit and will have to repeat the performance if they are serious about getting their first ever win over Nigeria in an official game.

As for Nigeria, they go into this match as clear favourites after winning all four qualifying fixtures, which also double up as qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.

South Africans cannot be blamed for celebrating the absence of four highly influential Nigerian players due to injuries.

The England-based quartet are captain Joseph Yobo (Everton), Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth), Obafemi Martins (Newcastle United) and John Obi Mikel (Chelsea).

The absence of Martins and company is also a blessing in disguise for Lukman Haruna and Joseph Akpala, who have a chance to make a name for themselves.

Shaibu Amodu, Nigeria's head coach, is still spoilt for choice with a number of seasoned overseas-based players at his disposal.

Amodu still has big names in his arsenal, like Yakubu Aiyegbeni, John Utaka, Dan Shittu, Obinna Nwaneri, and the Uche brothers, Kalu and Ikechukwu.

In the absence of regular goalie Victor Enyeama, Greg Etafia - who received his permanent South African residence permit this week - will play in his first qualifier.

Clashes between the two countries, be it at club or national level, always athe raise blood pressure and tomorrow will be no exception.

With the exception of the suspended Aaron Mokoena, coach Joel Santana should stick to the squad that drew with the Socceroos for the sake of consistency.

Central defender Matthew Booth looks set to have his first game for Bafana Bafana after five years, as a replacement for Mokoena.

Mbulelo Mabizela, another returnee in the team, can also do the same job.

Brotherly advice to Santana and his lieutenants is to go for all-out attack with Benni McCarthy, Sibusiso Zuma and Surprise Moriri in the firing squad.

In another game in the group, third-placed Sierra Leone are out for yet another win over Equatorial Guinea in Freetown tomorrow to also remain in the race to qualify.

Equatorial Guinea, who lost three successive qualifiers in June, have appointed former Spanish international Vicente Engonga as their new coach.


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