Bafana Bafana cannot afford to go to the return match against Senegal‚ and their final 2018 World Cup qualifying Group D game‚ on November next year with a one-point lead‚ said South Africa’s coach Shakes Mashaba.
Mashaba was speaking after his team beat the Lions of Teranga 2-1 at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday in at times acrimonious match‚ where Bafana benefitted from an incorrect penalty awarded by referee Joseph Lamptey.
The Ghanaian ref had to be protected by security from angry Senegalese officials after the game.
Mashaba said after such a game‚ the return leg in Dakar would be a “war”.
He said Bafana need to have produced more than a three-point lead over group favourites Senegal by the time of that fixture‚ from their next three games against Cape Verde Islands home and away‚ and Burkina Faso at home.
“If we had it our way we’d want to win those three games before going to Dakar. We can’t go to Dakar with a one-point lead‚” Mashaba said.
“It’s going to be war out there. It won’t be an easy game. I mean you saw them here. They’re very aggressive‚ they’re very arrogant.
“But what I like about them is‚ one‚ they have match intelligence. Two‚ their individual brilliance is very good.
“Three‚ teamwork. When they built from the back you could see an intention in what they wanted to do. They draw you close to them and then they play it behind you.
“So can you imagine when we got to them. That’s going to be very hard work. But we’ll come up with a plan and a strategy.”
Bafana went to four points beating Senegal and briefly held the lead of Group D until Burkina Faso beat Cape Verde Islands 2-0 away in Saturday’s later game.
Burkina Faso also have four points‚ but a +2 goal difference to South Africa’s +1. Senegal are second on three points and Cape Verde have zero.
South Africa next play Cape Verde away on August 28 next year and at home on September 22. Bafana host Burkina Faso on October 2‚ then finish their campaign with the return match against Senegal on November 6.
– TMG Digital