bafana need to raise bar

BAFANA Bafana must beat the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein tomorrow to win back the confidence of South Africans ahead of the World Cup finals.

BAFANA Bafana must beat the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein tomorrow to win back the confidence of South Africans ahead of the World Cup finals.

This was according to Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, after his goal-shy charges played to a goalless draw with the Blue Samurais of Japan at the Nelson Mandela Sports Complex in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

It was a reasonably promising result for Bafana Bafana, who before this match had lost eight out of nine. The win was against minnows Madagascar.

"We have to aim higher, the 2010 World Cup is around the corner and it is important that the team improve. We have to start turning things around and getting the required results in our matches," Parreira said.

"It's going to be better, better and better, but turning the team around won't be achieved overnight. It is a process. The game against Jamaica will be a tough one. They have half of the players in their team plying their trade in Europe.

"There is a lot of improvement to be done but we still have a lot of work to do. Overall, the team played well against Japan but we need to start scoring goal. That's one challenge we are attending to as a matter of urgency.

"The attitude for tomorrow's game in Bloemfontein must be the same as it was against Japan, against whom I thought we did well."

Bafana must thank their gods that the more pacey Japan failed to hammer them after dominating the first half, during which they squandered numerous scoring opportunities. But credit must also go to goalie Moeneeb Josephs, who made several brilliant saves.

"It was a great result and we are looking forward to doing well against Jamaica on Tuesday to end the season on a high note," said Josephs.

The only serious attempt by South Africa in the first half was when Siphiwe Tshabalala's thunderous shot was fisted for a corner kick in the 29th minute by Japan goalie Eiji Kawashima.

The second half was a closely contested affair and this saw Parreira boldly making three changes in the 67th minute by introducing Daine Klate, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Elrio van Heerden for Tshabalala, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Teko Modise.

After the introduction of the trio Bafana started showing a sense of urgency but once more it was their failure to score goals that let them down.

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