santana warned

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Most of Equatorial Guinea's players are based in Spain, which should set alarm bells ringing at Bafana Bafana.

South Africa welcome Equatorial Guinea at Super Stadium in Atteridgeville, tomorrow in a must-win match if they want to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2010.

This comes after the out of sorts Bafana Bafana were defeated 2-0 by the not so Super Eagles of Nigeria in their opening qualifier in Abuja last Sunday.

Brotherly advice to coach Joel Santana is to completely forget about the ultra defensive approach, especially for his first official game on home soil. Santana must be warned that South Africans have a phobia against defeat, and even a draw will not be acceptable.

Using a lone striker, as happened in Abuja, is also unacceptable.

The qualifiers offer Santana and his band a great opportunity to convince South Africans that they are well on track for the 2010 World Cup.

Santana will make a few changes to the team that lost to Nigeria, with goalie Itumeleng Khune set to replace Rowen Fernandez. Teko Modise and Thembinkosi Fanteni should also be in the starting lineup, a move likely to see Lance Davids and Surprise Moriri rele- gated to the bench.

Known as La Nzalang Nacional (the National Lightning), Equatorial Guinea have shown tremendous improvement in the past few months. Their most notable result was a 1-0 win over Cameroon in an Afcon qualifier last September, Edjogo Owono scoring.

Before that, they beat the Emmanuel Adebayor-led Togo 1-0.

The country, with a population of 500 000, is using its oil wealth to channel all their resources into the development of the beautiful game.

That includes paying promising young soccer players from other countries huge amounts of money to take up Equatorial Guinea citizenship.

The government has also built a new stadium in Malabo as co-host of the 2012 Afcon with neighbours Gabon.

Equatorial Guinea has an array of players in La Liga in Spain, including Rodolfo Bodipo (Desportivo La Coruna) and Javier Balboa (Real Madrid).

They also have Benjamin Zarandona of Real Betis, who represented Spain's U-21 national side but later opted to play for the country of his mother's birth. Guided by little-known Brazilian Defreitas Djordan, Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa.

l Adebayor will arrive in Mbabane today to join the Togolese for the qualifier against Swaziland on Sunday.