Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund says his side has a mental edge over Central African Republic (CAR) in their World Cup qualifier at a neutral venue in Yaounde, Cameroon, on Saturday.
South Africa beat the CAR 2-0 in their first-leg qualifier in Cape Town in March.
“The positive for us is that psychologically we’ve got the advantage,” Igesund said ahead of his team’s departure on Tuesday.
“We beat them convincingly at home and, of course, we’re playing on neutral ground.
“They haven’t got the home ground advantage and we just have to make sure we get the job done.”
Bafana defeated Lesotho 2-0 in Maseru at the weekend, in their only warm-up match, and Igesund was pleased to have been given the opportunity to experiment with his injury-riddled squad.
“The game against Lesotho was very important for us,” he said.
“We’ve got a whole new backline and I was quite pleased with the performances of quite a few players.
“It gives me a good idea of what I want to do for the CAR game.”
Lying second in Group A after three matches in the second round of African qualifying – two points behind group leaders Ethiopia – Igesund said he had no doubt his players would be able to perform in the crucial qualifier.
“We’re well prepared for it, you can see by the players here at the airport that they’re very psyched up and looking forward to this match.
“They’re also excited about going there and representing our country and qualifying for the World Cup.”
Despite having the advantage over the CAR, Igesund expected a challenging contest.
“Every game is going to be a war out there. As much as we want to qualify, they need to qualify as well.
“We’re ahead of them on the log. Obviously Ethiopia are on top, so everybody will be watching that game with anticipation.
“We just need to focus on CAR and get a positive result. We need to put the pressure on them if we can.”
A week after the CAR match, South Africa will face Ethiopia in Addis Ababa – another must-win, according to Igesund.
“Going to the game against Ethiopia, there will be everything to play for,” he said.
Igesund hoped his side would continue their positive run since he took over the reins of the national team nearly a year ago.
“When I came into the job, we only had the two points and were on the bottom of the log.
“We’ve fought our way up to second and we won our first game against CAR.
“We have to continue from where we left off, but it’s not going to be easy as there are no easy games in this competition. We know it’s a huge task ahead of us.”
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