bafana out to break streak

AFTER losing five games on the trot, Bafana Bafana are out to finally get rid of the "whipping boys" tag at the expense of the Republic of Ireland in Limerick tonight.

AFTER losing five games on the trot, Bafana Bafana are out to finally get rid of the "whipping boys" tag at the expense of the Republic of Ireland in Limerick tonight.

"The last time we played Ireland was in 2000 when they beat us 2-1 in New Jersey. This is a perfect platform for us to avenge the defeat," said team manager Sipho Nkumane.

That was during the US Cup where Benni McCarthy scored the solitary goal for Bafana Bafana, who then had Trott Moloto as a coach.

"We expect a tough match but it is important for us to win," Nkumane said. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.

This will be Bafana Bafana's second game in four days after going down 2-0 to Germany where coach Joel Santana, as usual, adopted an ultra-defensive approach. As if that was not enough, Santana played defender Bevan Fransman out of position as one of his three defensive midfielders.

Santana is expecting another tough game.

"They have one philosophy which we South Africans are not comfortable with - they play long balls. They play pressure football and they are strong and make you very uncomfortable," Santana warned.

"After playing on Saturday we had a lot of travelling and the players take time to recover. The medical team and the physical trainer have done their best to keep the players in peak condition."

Ireland, ranked 38th by Fifa, have been doing well in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, lying second behind Italy in their group with only one point separating the two teams.

On Saturday, Ireland beat Cyprus 2-1. Robbie Keane and company have warned South Africa not to expect any favours, saying they wanted to maintain their winning rhythm. Ireland will pin their hopes on the likes of striker Keane, Kevin Dayle and Richard Dunne.

Bernard Parker, Steven Pienaar, Mabhuti Khenyeza and Simphiwe Tshabalala are some of the players who will be looked on to save Bafana from further embarrassment.

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