barker POSITIVE ABOUT BAFANA

VETERAN South African coach Clive "The Dog" Barker sees a light at the end of the tunnel for Bafana Bafana in the Fifa World Cup.

VETERAN South African coach Clive "The Dog" Barker sees a light at the end of the tunnel for Bafana Bafana in the Fifa World Cup.

This is after a spirited Bafana kicked off their campaign in the tournament with a credible 1-1 draw against Mexico at Soccer City on Friday.

"I thought we played well overall, though we were a bit nervous in the opening stages of the match," observed Barker. "But it is good that we were able to settle down and hold our own against Mexico.

"Itumeleng Khune was fantastic, making some brilliant saves, especially in the first half when Mexico were probing for an early goal. We had quite a number of scoring opportunities where we should have scored more goals. But I think the team did very well.

"All we need do now is to win against Uruguay on Wednesday to enhance our chances of qualifying forthe second round. It will be tough for us in this tournament, but I can see a light at end of the tunnel for the boys," said the 1996 African Cup of Nations-winning coach.

Another former Bafana coach, Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba, said: "A point is better than nothing, we should have scored three or four goals in the second half.

"I thought the crowd was terrific on the day. It was clear our boys were a bit tense and most of them did not play their usual game, but they showed a fight-backspirit and this is a good attitude for the players.

"The match against Uruguay is a must-win for us so that we go into the last group stages fixture against France with less pressure.

"Wednesday's match will be our most crucial one and the boys have to win it for all South Africans, who have embraced them in an incredible way."

Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung was also impressed by Carlos Alberto Parreira, saying Bafana have what it takes to go all the way in the tournament.

"Our players were nervous and jittery. The international stage was clearly too big for them as it was the opening World Cup match in their own country.

"But our remarkable recovery was something out of this world, we should have won the match against Mexico. They really made the country proud."

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