Bafana Bafana’s goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is determined to keep a clean sheet against the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The goalkeeper’s plan will see the visitors losing out on the $25,000 for every goal offered them by the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, for every time Nigeria finds the back of the net in the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier on Saturday.
Khune is determined to shut the back door as he is well aware that a clean sheet will go a long way towards his country qualifying for next year’s Afcon finals in Cameroon.
A win for coach Stuart Baxter’s charges on Saturday would guarantee qualification to the continental showpiece with a match to spare and in the process help soothe the pain of missing out on the 2017 tournament under erstwhile mentor Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba.
“It’s a good record (not to concede) for us as team having kept four clean sheets (during the Nations Cup qualifiers)‚” said Khune.
“We have been working hard as a team and we have been encouraging all the departments to play their parts and do well for the team.”
Khune‚ who is on the verge of making a record-breaking 91st appearance in a Bafana shirt in the match against the Super Eagles‚ shares the clean sheet feat with Denis Onyango of Uganda‚ the only other African side that is yet to concede a goal in the Afcon qualifiers.
Khune said they would protect their record against a Nigerian side that will be minus injured top scorer Odion Ighalo‚ the player who scored five of his six goals in two qualifiers against Libya.
“We are still unbeaten and yet to concede a goal‚ and we’ve scored the most number of goals (eight)‚” he said.
“So those are the things we will look at.
“We keep telling ourselves that we must keep our feet on the ground and keep grinding out more (results and clean sheets).”
Khune stressed the importance of retaining their mental edge if they are to secure the result they seek against their old rivals.
“We need to be prepared mentally‚ physically and emotionally because we know how tough it is to play against the West African countries‚” he said.