Teko Modise believes that if South Africa are to pick up full points against New Zealand, they will have to continually attack.Modise says he was frustrated by the defensive tactics the home side adopted in their goalless draw against Iraq at Ellis Park on Sunday.
The midfielder, who was employed as the lone creative player in the centre of the park, admitted the strategy had left him isolated for much of the game, often left out on a limb to be surrounded by three defenders with no-one to pass to while the rest of the team sat back.
“I was getting frustrated because I knew South Africa’s plan is to play the ball and to go forward and attack these guys," he said. "And then we started sitting back.
“In the first 45 minutes we played too defensively. We had many players sitting at the back against a team that wasn’t even coming at us. So in the second half we said let’s take the game to them.
“I’m pleased that in the second half we at least played a bit better, even though it was not the best of Bafana’s game. We should have taken the goal-scoring chances we created.
“We started having more movements and that’s why we started creating more opportunities. I think if we’d started playing that way it would have been better.”
Asked how Bafana should approach their next game against New Zealand, who opened their tournament with a 5-0 thrashing to Spain in Rustenburg, Modise said, “I think we should have as many attack-minded players on the field as we can.
“Playing to a draw against New Zealand is not going to do us any good. It’s a must-win game for us and sitting back won’t get us anywhere.
“Of course we’re under pressure because we never beat Iraq, even with the opportunities we created,” Modise said.
“But everybody in the team knows the situation that we’re in and hopefully the senior guys can encourage the younger guys, and we can go out and fight in the next game.”
The midfield star is also aware of the hopes piled on his shoulders. “People talk to me a lot," he explained. "There’s high hopes. And that’s understandable because I’ve won Footballer of the Year two years in a row in South Africa and it’s going to come with the territory.”