Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo is unalarmed by a vengeance-seeking Nigeria and is adamant they will go to Libya with their tickets to Cameroon in hand.
Bafana face a sturdy challenge against the Super Eagles in their penultimate qualifier for the 2019 continental finals this afternoon.
Both sides on Friday wrapped up their final preparations and the battle lines have since been drawn, with just a few hours left before the game.
Having done the job in Uyo 18 months ago to end a 13-year winless run, the fear-factor has been dispelled, and Hlatshwayo is hard-set on building thereon.
“We know with South Africa and Nigeria there’s always that rivalry, and as players we want to make history to beat them twice,” Hlatshwayo told reporters ahead of the game.
“We know very well that we’ve won one while they have won five [in eight competitive matches], so for us it’s an important game.”
The skipper has distinct expectations of his charges and is looking to lead from the back by maintaining their run of having yet to concede a goal in the campaign.
“I’d love to see the guys going all out, and for sure it’s going to be a different ball game compared to when we played Seychelles,” he added.
“It’s going to be a highly tactical game and we know very well that they have their own stars, but we also have our own, so it’s going to be an interesting game.
“The good thing we’ve done in the qualifiers so far is that we’ve kept our clean sheets, which is what we also have to do [today].”
Permutations are quite clear at this stage – Bafana need two points from their remaining two games, and a victory against The Super Eagles will seal their spots for next year’s showpiece.
The 28-year-old no-nonsense defender therefore stresses that they want to face Libya in a dead-rubber fixture away from home in their final round fixture in March.
“To be honest, as South Africans we’ve previously had that problem of calculating and everything, so this time it’s for us to do it all in 90 minutes.
“We need to do it ourselves on the field. We have to make sure we get the result we require and go to Libya knowing that we’ve qualified.
“It’s not going to be an easy game but we’re up for the challenge,” he concluded.
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