South Africa players confident ahead of Egypt clash

Mohamad Mosselhi, Tuesday 24 May 2011

African qualifier in Cairo is crucial for Egypt but holds no fear for South Africa's stars

South Africa
South Africa's players celebrate their win over Egypt during their 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier soccer match in Johannesburg (Photo: Reuters)

Goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands and striker Bernard Parker admitted that South Africa’s task against Egypt will not be easy but said they were optimistic over their side’s chances.

South Africa and seven-time African champions Egypt lock horns in an anticipated African Cup of Nations qualifier on 5 June at Cairo stadium.

Sandilands, who earned his first international cap in a friendly game against Tanzania two weeks ago, is confident the Bafana Bafana can pull off an upset away from home.

“It was a great honour to play in that match (against Tanzania), and I am now looking forward to working even harder to get another chance,” Sandilands quoted as saying to on Tuesday.

“This upcoming match is a daunting task for any team because it is very difficult to beat Egypt in their backyard, but it is not impossible.

“To come back with a positive result we have to believe in ourselves and give more than 100 per cent. The good thing is that we have played them before so we know what to do,” he added, referring to South Africa’s precious 1-0 home win over the Pharaohs in March.

“In 2008 I went to Cairo in the CAF Champions League competition with Platinum Stars where we played against Al Ahly and lost 2-0, so I know what to expect. We just have to focus on the task and mission at hand.”

Parker echoed Sandilands’ sentiment, adding that he also believes South African can claim all three points.

“We did well against Tanzania and I believe we can continue from where we left off. The difference here is that Egypt will be desperate for victory because any other result will not be in their favour,” he said.

Egypt, who won the past three tournaments, risk the unthinkable prospect of failing to reach next year’s Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

They lie fourth in their group with a solitary point, six behind leaders South Africa who are frontrunners to qualify for the biennial tournament.

“A win against the Pharaohs will boost our confidence sky high and bring us even closer to qualification. The first match was very difficult and we not expecting things to be any different but we are optimistic,” Parker concluded.

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