Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane says the mental approach of his side will be the key to overcoming a strong Ghanaian team in their practice match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg on Sunday.
“Let’s go, we’re swimming with the sharks,” said Mosimane after his team’s final training session on Saturday.
“We will survive, we think we have the mental strength and the will to win and to do well for the country. We are the soldiers going to war with the flag hoisted up and we don’t want to drop it.”
Mosimane’s limited squad, made up primarily of Free State Stars, Bidvest Wits and Ajax Cape Town players have also struggled with injuries.
“We welcome back [Grandwald] Scott, but we lost Nazeer Allie and [Reneilwe] Letsholonyane to injuries and George Maluleka is also a doubtful starter,” he said.
“My team is Free State Stars players, Ajax players and Wits players. Wits, Ajax and Free State Stars have kept us going.”
The coach said while the team showed character to fight for a draw against Zambia, playing a side that is one of the favourites to lift the African Nations Cup trophy, will present a very different challenge.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game for us. For us, it’s to survive and to be soldiers of South Africa,” Mosimane said.
“Hopefully the boys don’t concede an early goal, like we did against Zambia, but there we also came back. I hope they’re [his team] not getting too nervous.
“They’re going to be a different game to Zambia. They’re going to have a little bit more speed on the ball, they are younger and quicker than the Zambian team on average.”
Mosimane went on to highlight the Ghanaian strengths his team had to counter.
“They are very powerful players with speed, and good attitudes. They have got that attitude that is a little bit cocky, they’ve got that attitude that ‘we’re the best’ and that’s why they’ve been top,” he said.
The coach also reminded the public that Bafana managed a win over Ghana after the World Cup in August 2010.
“We played the same team here [in South Africa] and we beat them after the World Cup,” he said.
“But it’s a different team now [Bafana] so we’re not going to be unrealistic, yes we talk about winning, but let’s hang in there.”
Thabo Nthethe, captain of club side Bloemfontein Celtic has been chosen to wear the armband for Bafana against the Ghanaians and says the mood in the camp is good.
“Even the sessions we’ve had you can see we are looking good,” said Nthethe.
“We have nothing to lose against Ghana. We want to win, we want to stay in the Bafana team so we have to make sure our performances are improving.” — Sapa