South Africa national team coach Gordon Igesund and defender Thabo Nthethe spoke to the media on Monday, while preparing for their international friendly against Brazil
“We want to put up a good performance. Let’s hope that we can put up a good showing. We’re playing a very good team, five-time world champions,” Igesund said of the game.
“I’ve got a squad of players which will be our national team moving forward. We’re looking to pick up from where we left off. Everyone is fighting for places.
“We’ve got a good idea of who will be playing for Brazil. I’ve got to keep referring to Spain. We played against the world champions and we dealt with them.”
Bafana shocked Spain 1-0 in a friendly at the same venue in November last year, and Igesund has now set his sights on a similar result against the world number nine-ranked, Selecao.
Brazil have beaten Bafana in all four previous meetings, their last victory in Johannesburg coming in the 2009 Confederations Cup semi-final, where Dani Alves netted a superb 88th minute free-kick.
“In the 18 months that I’ve been in charge, the team has changed a lot,” Igesund added.
“If you look at our performances when I have the full squad, you will see they have the attitude, the passion and they want to die [for Bafana] out there," said Igesund.
The pair last met in September 2012 in Sao Paulo, in what was Igesund’s first game in charge of the national outfit, with South Africa causing plenty of problems for their hosts, before eventually going down 1-0, courtesy of Hulk’s second half strike.
“On the night, I know that the guys want to be here, It’s great for us to rub shoulders with the best,” Igesund said.
“Every game we play, we try to win. If we win the game, it will be absolutely outstanding. It’s important that we put up a good showing and play the football we want to be playing.”
Brazil’s current assistant coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, meanwhile, returns to the country where he coached Bafana Bafana, failing to guide them past the group stages at the 2010 World Cup.
The hosts were dealt a serious blow with the news that goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game due to injury.
Khune sprained his ankle while on duty for club side Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday evening, just minutes before Amakhosi’s comfortable 4-0 Caf Champions League rout of Mozambican side Liga Muculmana.
The influential skipper went down during the warm-up and failed to start the game, before Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter confirmed after the game that Khune would be out for at least 10 days.
“Itu reported to camp last night. He has been ruled out, yesterday he reported to camp, where he was assessed by our doctors,” Igesund confirmed.
Defender Thabo Nthethe, who looks set to take over the captain’s armband in Khune’s absence, spoke of his excitement of facing a full-strength Brazilian side, riddled with international stars.
“Each player is going to be excited to play against Brazil. I’m hoping I will do well to make it into the starting 11,” Nthethe, who recently moved to local side Mamelodi Sundowns said.
“The players who are here know how Brazil play. After I heard that I would be in the squad, I watched the opponents and I was having a (mental) picture that I would be facing their stars.
“I’ve done a bit of homework so I know what to expect.”