Sun Sep 24 05:13:22 SAST 2017

Bafana need two wins against Cape Verde to avoid final-day nightmares

By Marc Strydom | 2017-08-29 14:15:36.0

Stuart Baxter, coach of South Africa with Ramahlwe Mphahlele of South Africa during 2018 World Cup Qualifiers South Africa Press Conference at Southern Sun, Johannesburg South Africa on 28 August 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana want a win in Cape Verde‚ then in Durban‚ and to keep on in that vein so that they do not face the final-day permutations and relying on other results the nation is so often subjected too‚ Ramahlwe Mphahlele has said.

The Kaizer Chiefs right-back said South Africa travel to Praia wanting nothing less than three points against the last-placed team in Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying Group D.

Bafana might be in second place on goal difference to Burkina Faso‚ but they are well-placed in the group‚ given their upcoming fixtures.

If SA beat Cape Verde away on Friday night‚ then come back to Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday night and do it again‚ then a win at home against Burkina Faso on October 7 might be enough to wrap up qualification before their final game in Senegal on November 11.

“We are going to Cape Verde to win the game. We’ve made our intentions clear – we want to go there and get a good result‚ come home and get a good result‚ so that we stay in control of our group‚” Mphahlele said.

“We don’t want to be relying on anyone to be doing us any favours. We want to stay in control until the end of this campaign.

“We had a good run against Nigeria (in June’s 2-0 Africa Cup of Nations victory in Uyo) and a good first-half run against Zambia (in a 2-1 friendly defeat in Rustenburg). So we’re looking to build on those.

“Nobody gave us a chance against Nigeria. But we had a plan in-house on how we were going to destroy Nigeria‚ and it came out perfectly.

“We prepare the same no matter who we’re playing. Yes‚ the public can chose and say‚ ‘It’s Cape Verde‚ we are expected to beat them’.

“But if we don’t beat them we are in trouble. So beat them‚ and you can talk after.

“The players know what’s at stake. We know how long it’s been since SA qualified for a World Cup. And we really want this badly.

“And I think we have the personnel to go there and win the game‚ and then come back and win again.”

Cape Verde‚ ranked 114th in the world‚ but with a tendency for punching above their weight‚ began their Russia 2018 campaign with 2-0 defeats away against Senegal and at home against Burkina Faso.

Bafana drew 1-1 in Burkina Faso and beat Senegal 2-1 at home. - SowetanLIVE