News Live Scores
South Africa v Mali

Bafana Bafana focused beyond Mali - Erasmus

10:51 AM EDT 10/11/19
Kermit Erasmus celebrates his second Bafana goal
The Cape Town City forward returns to the national team after hitting top form at his club

South Africa striker Kermit Erasmus says they have set their sights beyond Sunday’s Nelson Mandela Challenge against Mali as the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers approach.

Bafana Bafana face Mali at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth in what is new coach Molefi Ntseki’s first official game in charge of the national team.

South Africa are using the match against the Eagles to prepare for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which they kick off with a trip to Ghana in November.

Erasmus says Ntseki is trying to have the team establish their own pronounced style of play as they focus on the bigger picture beyond the Mali game.

“The coach wants us to believe in our style and the system of play. That’s what he has been emphasising ever since we’ve gathered. He wants us to create our own identity,” Erasmus was quoted as saying by Independent Media.

“The game against Mali is a preparation for the Ghana game. We know that Mali are a big and physical team just like Ghana. That’s how West African teams are. It is going to be an interesting challenge but we look forward to it.

“We are prepared for this game but not only this game but for other matches to come.”

Bafana are trying to qualify for the 2021 Afcon finals from Group C which also includes Sudan and the preliminary round winner between Mauritius and Sao Tome e Principe.

Erasmus was rewarded with a national team call-up after starting the current Premier Soccer League campaign on a high, with five league goals in eight games for Cape Town City.

On Sunday against Mali, the Port Elizabeth-born star is looking forward to shine in his home town.

“My parents don’t get to see me playing live. It is a great opportunity for my cousins, friends and aunt to see me in national colours. I’m happy that it is here,” Erasmus added.

“It is not often where I get to play in my home town. I’m looking forward to the game on Sunday and we will do our best to keep the cup home.”

South Africa go into this match after drawing 1-1 with Chippa United in a practice match on Thursday.