South Africa's head coach Pitso Mosimane (Photo: Reuters)
South Africa’s coach Pitso Mosimane hopes Egypt will defeat guests Niger on 8 October to bolster his team’s chances of qualifying for the 2012 African Cup of Nations.
The Bafana Bafana team, second of group G with 8 points, needs a draw at least when they host Sierra Leone on 8 October in the final round of the qualifiers, but leaders Niger (9 points) must win in Egypt to prevent Mosimanes’ men from qualifying for the Nations Cup for a second consecutive time.
“Nobody in our group has won away from home. So 11 points should be enough to take us through to qualification after we beat Sierra Leone,” Mosimane was quoted as saying by sports mag Kickoff on Wednesday.
Egypt, who have already lost hope of qualifying for the finals and are currently represented by Hany Ramzy’s Olympic team, were defeated 2-1 by Sierra Leone earlier this month. But Mosimane believes they will not be an easy opponent for Niger.
"Niger is playing away to Egypt, who, despite fielding an Under-23 team, are still competitive, judging from the footage that I saw of their game against Sierra Leone,” the coach explained.
"The fact that none of the teams have been good travellers means we must maximize what we have control over, which is to win our game at home. When we play at home, I’m confident that we can get the results,” he added.
"The plan has always been to get nine points at home which we are still on track to do if we beat Sierra Leone.
"Part of our plan was also to get three points away from home, but unfortunately we only managed two. This is why we now can’t get to the 12 points that we wanted, which would have guaranteed us qualification."
Despite the fact that South Africa’s destiny is now in the hands of leaders Niger, Mosimane played down the Mena team’s chances.
“Niger have won all their home matches and lead the group," he concluded. “But they’re definitely not the best team in the group.”