Bafana gears up for Nigeria clash

Bafana Bafana take on Ethiopia. (AFP)

Bafana Bafana take on Ethiopia. (AFP)

"Winning breeds confidence and, going into these big games, there's nothing better than feeling confident," Furman said on Tuesday.

The clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium served as ideal preparation for next month's crunch World Cup qualifier against Botswana at the same venue.

"The spirit in the group is great. We've obviously spent a lot of time together in Cameroon and Ethiopia [for other recent qualifying games], where the one result wasn't great for us.

"But definitely we came out a lot stronger from that, which will hopefully help us in tough games like these and the ones ahead." The match would be the 19th edition of the annual event, played in honour of the former president, but the first to be played in Durban.

Previous opponents have included the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Côte d'Ivoire and Egypt.

Bafana Bafana's record had been fairly poor over the years – seven wins, eight losses and three draws – and they had not won the trophy since 2009.

Overcoming giants
Furman, though, is adamant they can overcome the west African giants, who won the Africa Cup of Nations in Johannesburg, in February this year.

"We know they're the African champions and obviously had a great tournament a few months ago here in South Africa," the England-based player said.

"We'll look to be competitive against them, first and foremost.

"We're playing on home soil and it's a very important match for the country.” He acknowledged the credentials of the Super Eagles, adding that Nigeria posed a massive threat, based on their strong squad.

"They've got a lot of threats and have some very good players at clubs in Europe and all over the world.

"But we know that victory will give us some great confidence to take into our final qualification game against Botswana." 

Fitness
​Coach Gordon Igesund reported that all his players were fit for the game, although his squad was left with just 22 players following the non-arrival of Anele Ngcongca.

The Belgium-based defender's club, Genk, claimed he was carrying an injury which prevented him from travelling for the game.

“It's a fabricated story and I expect justice to take its course," Igesund said earlier on Tuesday.

“He was supposed to leave on Monday morning, but his club wanted to hold him back.

“I explained the situation to them, saying we can't release him because we need him and it's a Fifa date.

"Then late last night, I got a call from their coach saying he's picked up an injury. Where it happened I don't know.” 

The matter had been reported to the South African Football Association, who were expected to take it up with Fifa.

South Africa were also scheduled to play Burkina Faso in a Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day clash in Johannesburg on Saturday.
– Sapa

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