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‘Bafana Will Attack Iraq in Opener’

BAFANA Bafana head coach Joel Santana had a twinkle in his eye when asked how he would approach his team’s opening Confederations Cup Group A clash against Iraq on Sunday.

Defeat is not an option. A bold approach is needed against the Asian champions.

And attack he said would he the message he will give his players. It will be the Brazilian coach’s most important game since he took charge of Bafana as a successor to former Brazilian World Cup winner Carlos Alberto Parreira last June at the start of the African Nations Cup qualifiers.

The fact Bafana failed to qualify for the continental showpiece in Angola in January has haunted Santana and he said he is determined now to make good on his promise of building a team to compete among the stars on show at what is known as the “Festival of Champions” and for the 2010 World Cup in 12 months.

To his credit Santana has won over a lot of critics by his strong sense of discipline and ability to build a happy team spirit, despite the so-called aborted players’ strike this week.

Santana said his midfield will hold the key: “I have not made up my mind on my midfield combination, but I will use two strikers and attack.

“I have targeted the opening two games against Iraq and New Zealand (in Rustenburg next Wednesday) to get us through to the semifinals. If we get six points we would be able to play Spain (in Bloemfontein) in our final group match more relaxed knowing that we had qualified.” — Sapa

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