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Pressure is on Bafana Bafana to get a win to restore pride in the team and improve their rankings when they meet Equatorial Guinea in a 2010 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Malabo tomorrow.
The former pride of South Africa plummeted to an embarrassing 85th position on Fifa's world rankings and 19th in Africa. It is our worst ranking since returning to the international arena in 1992, thanks to direction-less coach Joel Santana.
Santana started by successfully guiding Bafana Bafana out of the race to qualify for their eighth consecutive Afcon finals in Angola.
Lucky to be still earning a fat R1,4 million a month, Santana's worst enemy is his inconsistent chopping and changing of the team.
Now that South Africa are seven months away from hosting the 2009 Confederations Cup, it is a perfect opportunity for the inane Santana to start sticking to a regular team.
South Africa are just a position behind minnows Canada. To make matters worse they are huffing and puffing behind African rivals Benin (81st) and Kenya at 79th in the world rankings. To these African countries Mzansi is a role model when it comes to its economy and democracy, yet the same cannot be said about the Beautiful Game.
But the inconsistent Bafana Bafana go into tomorrow's game with some hope after defeating Equatorial Guinea 4-1 in Atteridgeville in June, their only win of a dismal campaign.
The next World Cup hosts must make it two in a row to avoid finishing the qualifiers at the bottom of Group Four.
It will be foolish to think Bafana Bafana are back to winning ways after a 3-0 win over Malawi, who fielded a second string, locally-based team.
In-form Bernard Parker scored a brace in that game, but it remains to be seen how he will fare in his partnership with Benni McCarthy or Terror Fanteni.
Besides McCarthy and Fanteni, this qualifier also sees the return of Aaron Mokoena, Nasief Morris, Bradley Carnel and Tsepo Masilela.
Masilo Modubi has been drafted into the team as a defensive midfielder.
l Watford midfielder Alhassan Bangura will make his long-awaited international debut for Sierra Leone against Nigeria in Abuja tomorrow, the final group match of the first round of qualifiers.
The Leone Stars are second in Group Four behind unbeaten Nigeria, with seven points from five matches. They need a win to stand a chance of qualifying for the next stage of the qualifiers as one of the best eight second-placed teams.
Super Eagles coach Shaibu Amodu has issued a first call-up for Holland-based Oluwafemi Ajilore.