Bafana Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune is not losing sleep over a new defence that will play together for the first time when South Africa host the Central African Republic (CAR) in a 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Qualifier taking place on Saturday, 23 March 2013 at the Cape Town Stadium.
Kickoff is at 20h15.
All four defenders that will face CAR were not part of the playing personnel when Bafana Bafana lost to Mali on penalties in the AFCON 2013 tournament. In that match, Siboniso Gaxa played at right back as Anele Ngcongca was suspended, with Tsepo Masilela running up and down at left back, while Siyabonga Sangweni and Bongani Khumalo were in charge at central defence - all four are not available for this match. But Khune is not worried.
"Communication will be key in tomorrow's match, whether we play with a different defence or not we have to have good communication to ensure we do well against CAR. The players that are here have been under the watchful eye of the coach and have been training with us the whole week. They have fitted in like a glove so I am confident that whoever gets the nod will be able to deliver because they know what is expected of them. I see us doing the best for the country," said Khune.
The Kaizer Chiefs keeper is also aware of the threat that the visitors can pose.
"They are good on the ball, play counter attacks, have a speedy striker. They like playing the balls to him behind the defence so I have to be alert and anticipate all the time to kill off the threat they might pose to us. But defensively they are very slow and we have to capitalise on that and get as many goals as we can. We shouldn't take them for granted though as they travelled to Egypt and defeated the Pharaohs. That shows they are capable of anything," added Khune.
Head coach Gordon Igesund believes the squad is ready for this all-important encounter.
"We are more than ready. The work we have put in over the last few days has been tremendous and I hope the boys just go out there and put the plan to action so we can get the three points. I am also glad that the players have learnt to be ruthless in front of goal. Had we been this ruthless against Mali in front of goal, we would be talking a different story now about the tournament. We are aware that goal difference might come into play later in the qualifiers so we have to score goals to keep our hopes of going to Brazil alive," said Igesund.
Meanwhile, midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala has been given the green light to participate in tomorrow's match. He underwent two gruelling training sessions on Thursday night and Friday morning and finished without any pain. He missed Tuesday's workout due to some discomfort on his knee and trained on his own on Wednesday.
CAR has already arrived in Cape Town and held their first training session at Ikamva, home of Ajax Cape Town, on Friday morning. In the evening they were expected to complete their preparations at the match venue.
Tickets for the match are still available at Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers and Shoprite/Checkers stores across the country. They are on sale for R50 and R100 each. Though there's a limited number for R50 tickets.
In the other Group A clash, Botswana will face Ethiopia on Sunday.