Afcon qualification important - Bafana

Bafana Bafana stand-in captain Siphiwe Tshabalala said they needed to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of...

Bafana winger Siphiwe Tshabalala. Picture: Sapa

Bafana Bafana stand-in captain Siphiwe Tshabalala said they needed to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations to save the image of South African football.

They face Sierra Leone in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Bafana failed to qualify for last year's tournament following a steady decline since winning the tournament in 1996.

South Africa's qualification for next year's continental tournament would also depend on the result of the match between Egypt and Niger in Cairo on the same day.

Should Bafana defeat the Leone Stars, and Egypt beat Niger, Bafana could finish top of their group and book themselves a place in the 2012 Afcon tournament.

Shabba said qualification for next year's tournament is none-negotiable.

"We have sat down with the coach as a team and we had a unified vision to be part of the Afcon 2012."

He added that it was Important for South Africa to qualify and do it for the pride of the nation as they had missed out on the previous tournament.