Bafana confident of victory

YAOUNDE - Fresh off captaining Bafana Bafana to a 2-0 win over Lesotho in an international friendly at the weekend, Thabo Nthethe is confident South Africa can secure maximum points in their upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Bafana first play Central African Republic (CAR) at a neutral venue in Yaounde, Cameroon, on Saturday, and eight days later take on Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.

“We are looking forward to winning both games," Ntethe said.

"But firstly we need to focus on this game against CAR. I believe if we can get the win we will have a good camp and it will help for the game against Ethiopia.”

Bafana were lying second in Group A after three matches in the second round of African qualifying, two points behind group leaders Ethiopia.

Nthethe was confident their strikers would create opportunities, but their chances of beating CAR would depend on their ability to finish.

“They [CAR] are a physically strong and compact team, and disciplined too.

“We just need to make sure we take our chances, which we believe will be there."

Regular captain and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune also believed Bafana had the quality to win both return-leg qualifiers.

“With the squad that we have we will come back with positive results,” said Khune.

“The team the coach has assembled for both the qualifiers, I think, is a very good team. It's a well balanced team and the players are up for a challenge.

“Whichever combination the coach will use on the day of the game will do the job for the country.”

Khune expected CAR to have decent support at the neutral Cameroon venue.

“We're expecting a tough game even though it's a neutral venue.

“It's not too far from their own country so their supporters will travel and rally behind them.”

With overseas-based players May Mahlangu and Tokelo Rantie back in the squad, after missing the Lesotho clash due to club commitments, Khune believed their presence would further lift the spirit in the camp.

“It's a confidence booster for us. Those players have been around with the team and they've played the Africa Cup of Nations and other important friendly matches.

“We as players are happy to have them in camp. They are also bringing European experience into the squad.

"To see them in such a good mood, it shows we are united in camp.”

Influential midfielder Dean Furman said the friendly against Lesotho helped determine the right combinations for the CAR game.

“A few people became familiar with each others' games,” said Furman.

“We've had a few injuries to the squad and there's a few new players, so it's important we had that game to gel together, and the training camps."

The squad was brimming with confidence, according to Furman.

“We've taken a lot of confidence from the game [against Lesotho] because it was in difficult conditions, with the pitch and the weather conditions over there.

"We take confidence in the victory over there and we'll take it over to Saturday.” – SuperSport

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