Bafana coach wary of Egypt 'mind blowing tactics'

AP, Friday 25 Mar 2011

South Africa coach Pitso Mosimane said on Friday his team will gain no advantage from Egypt's recent political turmoil in the countries' African Cup of Nations qualifier

South Africa coach Pitso Mosimane

Bafana Bafana will not be distracted by the exclusion of long-serving captain Aaron Mokoena for Saturday's Group G match with the African champions, either, Mosimane said.

South Africa has never beaten Egypt in a competitive international but has a chance to make history at Ellis Park with the Pharaohs already struggling for form in their qualifying campaign. Egypt is bottom of the group and desperately needs to win to revive a flagging campaign.

Its home-based players have also been denied match practice due to the suspension of their domestic league since early February as protests swept long-serving president Hosni Mubarak from power.

With the Egyptian team avoiding the media in South Africa until after the game, Mosimane was left to defend the visitors' preparations - and said they would be ready.

"They have challenging, mind blowing tactics that are a problem," Mosimane said. "Coach (Hassan) Shehata is a big coach.

"Make no mistake, you have to look after your job, focus on your own team and prepare properly. We're not going to play different ... We stick to our plan." Mosimane's buildup has not been ideal, either, with injury doubts over midfielders Steven Pienaar (groin) and Siphiwe Tshabalala (hamstring) adding to his controversial dropping of Mokoena.

The 30-year-old defender, who has 107 caps, was not named in Mosimane's squad, signaling an end to his international career. Pienaar has been named captain in his place.

Mokoena said that he was disappointed with the way the situation had been handled, and that Mosimane had not talked to him.

"I'm not bitter, I'm not angry," South Africa's most capped player said. "It's part of the game, but it's how you make the decision." Mosimane said Pienaar and Tshabalala would play, but Mokoena was not part of his plans for the game.

"It has been addressed. The decision has been taken and it's not personal," Mosimane said. "It's merely a tactical decision. I said it, I'll still say it, I love Aaron, I respect Aaron.

"He has contributed but I didn't select him. It's professional football. It's football at the highest level." Mosimane added his squad would not be affected by Mokoena's exclusion: "Whatever happens we focus on Egypt.

We're OK. It's life, it's normal. We go on," he said.

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