Cape Town – Former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker feels that with Itumeleng Khune in goal, South Africa have the beating of Senegal in the 2018 Soccer World Cup qualifiers.
Bafana Bafana face Senegal in a World Cup Group D qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday night (19:00 SA time).
If they can win the game, and also secure victory in the return match in Dakar next Tuesday, a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia awaits.
However, leading up to the game, the South African camp has been hit with a series of suspension and injury problems, including Khune, who fractured a bone in his face in a Telkom Knockout match last weekend.
It has now been announced that the Amakhosi keeper will be able to play, wearing a protective mask.
Barker, who took Bafana to AFCON 96 glory, feels it's imperative that South Africa's most experienced shot-stopper does take to the pitch in Polokwane.
"I hope that Khune comes through his ordeal with a mask that he's going to wear – I think he's a hell of a goalkeeper and the best user of the ball. So with Khune playing I think Bafana will win tonight," he told Goal.
The veteran coach has meanwhile urged current national team boss Stuart Baxter to throw caution to the wind.
"I think he's going to try and make them relax as much as possible. Let them play off the counter as much as possible. If they do that and enjoy it, then they will get something out of tonight's game, but obviously it's going to be over if we don't win, " Barker stated.
"If Stuart is on the side of being committed, and obviously plays an extra player upfront then that is his choice and then of course we will be right behind him, but he's got to gamble and he's got to get the result tonight," he added.