This after hosts South Africa and Mali played to a 1-1 draw in their second match of the tournament played at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday, 15 January 2014.
In the other Group A game, Nigeria defeated Mozambique 4-2 to set up an exciting finish to the group stages. With one match left in the group stages, Mozambique have been eliminated after two losses, leaving South Africa, Mali and Nigeria to contest the two spots in the next round.
“We are happy with where we are right now. We have played two matches and have not lost, and also we are still on top of our group. I cannot ask for more than that. We are in a very good position and we know what we have to do but it is not going to be an easy game. The passage to the next round is in our hands and the pressure is no different from the first game,” said Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund.
With four points after two matches, Bafana Bafana still top the group with a better goal difference to second-placed Mali who have the same number of points. Nigeria are one point adrift of the leaders while Mozambique are yet to collect points.
“We have put ourselves in this position. I have a lot of respect for (Stephen) Keshi and his team but I am quite confident we are going to do well on the day. The only thing is that it would have been nicer not to have this kind of pressure. But then again that is what makes this game so exciting, the anxiety of not knowing whether you will qualify or not, because if you know it will mean nothing,” added the coach.
South Africa face Nigeria at the Cape Town Stadium, with Mali taking on Mozambique at the Athlone Stadium in the other Group A match – both clashes kick-off at .
A draw or a win will see South Africa through, but Igesund is not taking any chances.
“Playing for a draw is the most dangerous thing for any team. You have to go out and play. My philosophy has always been to play to win. But when you start thinking about trying to play for a draw then you are doing the wrong thing and you end up taking incorrect decisions. I cannot compromise my principles which are to win every match – if the other team scores three you score four. It has worked for me so there is no way I will play defensively to get a result. I believe we are good enough a team to win a game the way we should,” added Igesund.
“No we are not scared of Nigeria, we are not scared of anybody, and we can match any team in the tournament. We recently beat World and European champions Spain, why must we be scared of Nigeria? We have a plan. We will be offensive against them. We know that Nigeira is going into this game with just one thing in mind and that is to win because a draw is no good for them. They are going to come at us and I will be pleased with that as the match will open up and I back us up in an open game,” said Igesund.