Santana Believes That Iraq Holds The Key To Confederations Cup Success

Bafana Bafana head coach Joel Santana thinks that the game against Iraq is the most important one in next month's Confederations Cup...

Bafana open the competition, regarded as a dress rehearsal to the 2010 World Cup finals, when they face the Asian champions Iraq in the opening Group A match at Ellis Park on June 14.

And, speaking at a media briefing at the Bafana squad's Johannesburg hotel on Friday, Joel Santana admitted Iraq were something of a closed book, but said he was confident victory over Iraq could propel his team towards the final on June 28.

"If we beat Iraq we will be half way to succeeding," said Santana. 

"That is how important this match is. It is vital we beat them and get the fans behind us. A win would also boost our confidence and it is important we start and maintain a winning momentum. I believe we can succeed in this competition and I have confidence in the players selected."

However, the coach also revealed that the Bafana management are having problems finding out anything about the Iraq side.

"We are finding it difficult to get information on Iraq, but we have already managed to obtain DVDs of their recent games which we are studying.

"The problem is they changed coaches recently. They had a Brazilian coach in charge and I figured I could work out their game plan. But they changed coaches last month and we have to start from scratch and try and get information urgently," Santana admitted.

Veteran Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic has taken charge of Iraq for the Confederations Cup and Santana knows that he is a very experienced coach, who has been to no fewer than five World Cup finals.

Peter Pedroncelli,