Parreira remains positive

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The South Africans take on the Lions of Teranga in a must-win Group D clash at the impressive Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

Bafana have collected only a single point in their two previous matches following a 1-1 draw with Angola in their opening game and a disappointing 3-1 loss to Tunisia, where they showed they still have a long way to go before they can reclaim a spot amongst the continent’s elite.

Despite a much-improved performance in the second half, it was the shambolic defending in the first half that was punished ruthlessly by the Tunisians.

Speaking to the media following a grueling training session on Wednesday, the Brazilian says he fully believes his side has a chance of getting maximum points against Senegal.

The South Africans now need Tunisia to defeat Angola and must beat Senegal by two clear goals to have any chance of progressing to the quarterfinals.

“We were, of course, disappointed following the loss to Tunisia on Sunday,” he said. “The players were not happy and we know now that our fate is not in our own hands. But it is important that we win this game. It is not just about qualifying for the next round, but also leaving a good impression on the tournament – that will be very important for the team's confidence. We need to go out and do our job, which is to win the game.”

And Parreira has reiterated his mandate to build a competitive side by the time the 2010 World Cup is played on home soil. He says the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations is one piece of the puzzle in building a competitive team.

“The mission to build a squad is continuing and I have always said that this tournament will be used as a bridge for the 2010 World Cup. The team has shown signs of improvement as compared to the one that competed in the same tournament two years ago in Egypt. We brought young players – some of them with only two caps and some have not even played a single game for the national team. Signs are good and I am still confident that by 2010 we will have a solid group of players.”

Meanwhile, the coach is expected to make changes to the starting line-up for Senegal. Captain Aaron Mokoena might replace Nasief Morris at the back, with Kagiso Dikgacoi playing the holding role in the midfield. It does look like Terror Fanteni will keep his starting place alongside Sibusiso Zuma upfront.

It is unclear whether Tsepo Masilela will be fit after complaining of a slight injury. If he sits out, Brett Evans will take his place at left-back.

The coach will be happy that midfielder Teko Modise managed to finish today’s training session without showing any signs of discomfort after watching his teammates sweating it out yesterday.