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Thu Apr 24 10:32:51 SAST 2014

Igesund wants aggressive and attack-minded Bafana

MARC STRYDOM in Warsaw | 12 October, 2012 06:161 Comments
Players warming up during the South African National soccer team training session on October 11, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland
Image by: JANEK SKARZYNSKI / Gallo Images

BAFANA Bafana want to hustle Poland in their own back-yard in tonight's tough international friendly here.

After a worthy 1-0 defeat against Brazil and a less impressive 2-0 win against Mozambique in his first two matches, Bafana coach Gordon Igesund faces a stern test tonight.

Igesund's defensive emphasis has been not to allow Poland to play the way they want to at the 58000-seater Stadion Narodowy, which is expected to be near-full.

Igesund wants his players to be in the Poles' faces, while in attack continuing the more aggressive, direct style Igesund seeks from the national team. Poland disappointed with their exit in the first round of Euro 2012 as hosts in June.

They have grown in strength in the first three matches under Waldemar Fornalik, who replaced Franciszek Smuda as coach, losing 1-0 to Estonia before a draw away against Montenegro and a 2-0 home win against Moldova.

This might have been one match that Igesund never really wanted Bafana to play, preferring to meet strong African opposition in the build-up to the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in January.

In hindsight the game against tough European opposition, and even the cold conditions (temperatures in Warsaw have hovered around 4-6ºC at night), could turn out to be just the right fit for Bafana as Igesund tries to panel-beat a squad into shape for the Afcon.

"I think that the opposition is going to be very tough. We're playing under difficult conditions, very different to African football," Igesund said yesterday.

"It's always great to play against a top European country. There's no doubt Poland have got world-class players.

"We maybe could have got African opposition, but I doubt they would have been strong enough because most of African teams are involved in Afcon qualifiers. This game is going to give us that test we need to see how far we've come."

Poland are a more competitive team than their 54th ranking suggests. Key players are the Borussia Dortmund pair of striker Robert Lewandowski and midfielder Lukasz Piszczek.

Fornalik's squad contains no locally based players, with the Poles plying their trade in top European leagues such as Holland, France, Germany and Spain.

The Polish coach might opt for a mixed-strength combination looking ahead to Tuesday's far more important World Cup qualifier against England.

Bafana look set to give Poland a tough game. There is a new energy in the squad. Igesund has selected players on form - a youngster such as Dino Ndlovu was able to start against Brazil and there has been a call-up for Delron Buckley, 34.

Additions such as Dean Furman and Slovakia-based Ricardo Nunes, who has impressed with his set pieces in training, have excited the Bafana players.

In the first Bafana match since the international retirement of Steven Pienaar, Igesund said he was undecided between Lerato Chabangu and Sifiso Myeni for right forward in his 4-3-3 formation.

Bernard Parker's goals for Kaizer Chiefs should see him at central striker, though he might also fill a playmaker role behind Ndlovu.

Siphiwe Tshabalala at left forward and Furman and Kagiso Dikgacoi in central midfield are obvious choices.

So are Nunes at left-back, and Siyabonga Sangweni and Bongani Khumalo in central defence.

Thabo Nthethe is likely to start at right-back.

Kick-off is at 8.45pm, live on SABC1.

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Igesund wants aggressive and attack-minded Bafana

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Thu Apr 24 10:32:51 SAST 2014 ::

COMMENTS [1]

Oct 12, 2012
We must simply beat the Polish, If they had failed to beat Estonia than they are not even a competition for us despite playing at home, we nearly manage a draw against Brazil, a team like Poland should not be a problem to us.
Our strikers Ndlovu and Parker must no that a good striker should be like a snake/black mamba in front of goals,play with incredible speed to beat the goalkeeper and defenders, a good striker only plays two or one touches in the 18 area, one for holding and the other for a killer punch! Where goals are too close, there is no need for a striker to play two touches but must just pass the net accurately!
Our midfielders must have tactical and technical awareness to create spaces and off side tricky moves to allow the strikers space to shoot with ease.
midfielders and defenders should defend in unit to make the general defense watertight.
Our defenders are playing very well but have got a problem when coming to defending far corner of the goals during free kicks and corner kicks. The other problem is poor tactical defense in front of goals especially when Furman and Dikgacoi delay due to lack of pace to get back quitly to stabilise in defense, our center back is normally found wanting and the sweeper cannot do anything but only meet lots of pile drives coming from the center right in front of 18 area.
When you play European oppositions as a goalkeeper, never leave your line unless you are sure that you will win the ball, even during the run of play, a goalkeeper must always wake up as European oppositions have a tendency of shooting from even the center line.