“I know everybody has been talking, saying we are playing against a very strong team, and we have never beaten Senegal. Senegal have never beaten us as well, and we are not talking about that,” said Mashaba, presumably referring to the two competitive games Bafana have played against the Teranga Lions, both of which ended in 1-1 draws.
“Let’s stop playing second fiddle to other people. Let us be proud of ourselves. We are always inviting dead lions for ourselves instead of us projecting ourselves as lions,” added the 66-year-old mentor, slightly cryptically.
Mashaba did acknowledge that Senegal had a host of players getting regular game time in Europe.
“Yes we accept they are bringing very good players. They have close to nine or 10 players (in their starting 11) playing abroad and most are commanding positions in their clubs.
“What I like about Senegal is that they have never brought a makeshift team to South Africa. There are a couple of players … we are going to look at. We have been watching them … they played three games recently and they won all of them. We know what to expect (but) you can plan … and on the day of the match they are different.”
Mashaba added that he was happy with his own team’s performance, despite their failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
“We are getting there. We are happy with the team we have put out thus far. We didn’t qualify for the Afcon and it has become a big thing in the country. When we qualified for Afcon 2015 nobody gave us glory about it. We are … appealing for fair judgement.”
Bafana suffered a couple of injury blows, as midfielder Dean Furman and defender Tebogo Langerman were ruled out of Saturday’s game.