Bafana confident of win against Mexico

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Johannesburg - The opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup between Bafana Bafana and Mexico at Soccer City on Friday promises to be a thrilling encounter, but Bafana players are more than aware that the Mexicans will be tough opponents to beat.

Bafana striker, Bernard Parker, said he was aware that their first opponents were an experienced side, but one that would hopefully not outplay them.

"We know that they are an experienced side, but we cannot be walked all over in our own home grounds. We will go out to do what we do best, keeping the ball on the ground and scoring goals," he said.

The FC Twente striker said he was not concerned about facing Mexican skipper, Rafael Marquez, who is regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.

"I know that Marquez is an experienced defender, but should he become more solid, as a striker, I will also get tougher," he said.

Parker said Bafana's focus is to go beyond the group stages of the tournament. "We want to beat all our opponents and anything is possible at the knock-out stages," he said.

Winning all their World Cup preparation friendly matches boosted the player's confidence, said Parker, adding that they do not feel under pressure as they are physically and mentally fit to face Mexico.

Bafana defender, Matthew Booth said once they beat Mexico on Friday, the momentum will take them through to the second stage of the tournament.

"Our coach (Carlos Alberto Parreira) proved to be the right candidate for the job because he gave the team confidence, we are physically fit, looking good as ever," he said.

Bafana's goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune said the injury he sustained when Bafana beat Colombia 2-1 was not serious and he is more than ready for the opening match.

"It was just a knock and the medical team declared me fit," he said.

Khune said it is important for Bafana to win their opening match on Friday.

"It is crucial for us as the host to win all the matches; we've a good advantage -our supporters who will come in their numbers blowing vuvuzela's. We are prepared to do more than our best for our country. We are prepared to show what we are made of.

"Mexico is an experienced team, but we will give them a good run. We've quality and capable players who are committed to making themselves and their country proud," he said.

Khune emphasised that the team wants to beat the Mexicans and not draw with them.

"I don't think as Bafana we should be worrying about Mexico, instead they should be the ones worried about playing us at home in front of our vibrant crowd," he said.

Teammate, Siphiwe Tshabalala, who will be marking his 50th appearance in Bafana colours, said he can't wait to play on Friday.

"It would be an important day for me because I will be marking my 50th cap for Bafana and I like to celebrate the day with a very good performance and victory," he said.

From 1998 until 2006, the Mexican soccer team managed to participate in all four World Cup, but have not managed to pass the second round in any of those occasions.