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Igesund urges Bafana to not stumble against Senegal

The former national team coach says Bafana Bafana cannot afford to lose against Senegal at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.

FILE: Bafana Bafana players attend a training session. Picture: Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana are in action, in a must-win 2018 World Cup qualifying game against Senegal at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday and former national team coach Gordon Igesund says the boys cannot afford to lose.

South Africa are in group D, with Senegal, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso, with whom they drew 1-1 in the opening match of their qualifiers and are now faced with the task of overcoming a star-studded Senegalese outfit.

The Lions of Teranga are boasting a team with the likes of Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, Stoke’s Mame Biram Diouf and Cheikhou Kouyate who plies his trade for West Ham United, also in the English Premier League.

Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has gone for a fairly experienced team, even recalling some players who were in the national setup once upon a time.

The likes of Daine Klate and Thuso Phala have been roped in, to give the team much needed impetus on the flanks, while Mashaba has also called upon an unknown and untested striker – Lars Veldwijk – who, before Monday, had never set foot on South African soil.

He’s brings great height and physicality to the side and is also believed to have a knack for scoring goals, at least according to his stats during his time in Europe.

Igesund, who failed in his bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is urging the team to make the most of their home ground advantage and put their opponents to the sword, to give themselves the chance to control their own qualification destiny.

“You’ve got to use that advantage of playing at home and the crowd support. But not only must you win your home games, but also compete on the road as well. If you can win all your home games and pick up 2 points on the road, then you will qualify”

Kickoff in Polokwane is at 15h00.