England-based Bafana Bafana midfielder Dean Furman says South Africa cannot afford to leave qualification to the last match. With two games remaining, Shakes Mashaba’s boys will host Sudan this weekend (Saturday, 15 November) at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban before the tricky trip to Nigeria on Wednesday, 19 November in Uyo. Bafana Bafana have never defeated the Super Eagles in any competitive game.
Their last clash, a CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2015 qualifier, ended goalless in Cape Town. “Firstly records are there to be broken, we had a great game against Nigeria and we feel that we should have taken all three points. They have top players and they are the champions of Africa, we will have to be wary of that threat but of course we would like to get the group wrapped up as soon as possible. That would mean getting three points this weekend to make the trip to Nigeria more comfortable for us,” said Furman. Despite defeating Sudan 3-0 away in the first leg, Furman still believes they don’t have to be complacent.
“It doesn’t mean it was easy in the first match against Sudan, it’s just that goals change games and with our first goal the game opened up for us, and then we saw our quality shine through. In the first half they gave us a tough time as they have some good players, so we have to be on our guard and give them the respect they deserve. At the same time we have great quality in our team and we have to go out there positive. It would be massive for us to qualify for this tournament. The disappointment of not qualifying for the World Cup, and we were playing in this city, still hurts and we want to put that right. We know we haven’t scored goals in the last two home games but we have shown that when we are away from home we are more than capable of scoring and the good thing is that we are creating chances so it’s only a matter of time before we convert them. Everyone is feeling confident and hopefully we can get some goals to give us a win on Saturday,” added the Doncaster Rovers player. On the issue of captaining Bafana Bafana following the unexpected passing on Senzo Meyiwa, Furman had this to say, “It would be an unbelievable honour to captain South Africa but I am not thinking about that at the moment as that is entirely up to the coaching staff. We saw how well Senzo led the side in the four qualifiers and we know how well a captain Itumeleng Khune is. But for us it’s all about being leaders on the pitch not just the individual that has the armband. Every player brings their own quality and character in leadership to the team, we just have to stand up and be counted,” concluded the midfielder.