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Goals on the way, Khune says

15 January 2013
Mazola Molefe

BAFANA have shut out the public’s negative assessment of their Africa Cup of Nations warm-up soccer matches and are instead trying urgently to address their scoring problems before the opening match on Saturday.

Itumeleng Khune rebuffed suggestions yesterday that team morale was low just five days before Bafana’s match against Cape Verde at Soccer City.

Goalkeeper Khune and his team-mates failed to register a win in Bafana’s two friendly games. They were beaten 1-0 by a young Norway side and held to a goalless draw by fellow Nations Cup participants Algeria.

There has been a uproar over Bafana’s failure to score goals, especially with coach Gordon Igesund given the mandate by the SA Football Association to reach “at least the semifinals”.

Khune is well aware that Bafana’s friendly matches have been uninspiring.

“We don’t know what’s going on out there because we are in camp. All we are focused on is ourselves as players,” Khune said after sweating it out at Orlando Stadium following a Bafana training session.

“But we have a duty – and our duty is to win games and make the nation proud.”

From yesterday’s session, it was clear Igesund aimed at seeing more chances converted. But fans would be happier to see the end product in a match situation.

“Most of the teams coming to play Bafana are well organised. They know Bafana are deadly in front of goal and they have been better at defending than we have been going forward,” was Khune’s analysis.

“We have been working on finishing since the coach took over. It’s not that we are now working on it five days prior to the tournament. A team needs to score to win games.”

Igesund has virtually dismissed concerns around fluffed opportunities, mainly by strikers Katlego Mphela, Tokelo Rantie and Bernard Parker.

The coach insists Bafana will score enough goals to win against Cape Verde.

And Khune supports this.

“If we just focus on the 90 minutes against Cape Verde and not concern ourselves with other [upcoming] games, we will win.

“We also need to ignore the pressure because it is there whether we win or lose,” the goalkeeper said.

Bafana’s other Group A opponents include Angola and Morocco, whom they will face in Durban on January 23 and 27 respectively.

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