Swaziland stand on the verge of an expected place in the final phase of African Zone qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. A narrow win over Togo in their final qualifier on Saturday would be enough for Ephraim Mashaba's side, and key to their hopes of achieving this will be Dennis Masina, who may be on the diminutive side but has the steely gaze of a warrior ahead of the crucial Group 11 showdown.
"It is a war for us. We have to fight to make sure we win," said the creative winger. "Our strong point is the way we play and our ability on the ball. We are a side that does have big players to concentrate on defending, so we have no option but to push forward."
Togo require victory to keep alive their slim chances of progressing to the business end of the African qualifiers, but Mesina remains confident. "We beat them when we played at home in June. I was not impressed with their side. Yes, they are tall and they like to play the high ball and a direct game, but they did not look comfortable on the ball," said the Swaziland captain, who plays his club football for South African champions SuperSport United.
Swaziland were placed in a tough three-team section with Zambia and Togo, and their task was complicated when, just a week before their qualification campaign began, Swiss coach Raoul Savoy was fired.
Ephraim Mashaba, formerly at the South Africa reins, was brought in and he shook up the side and guided them to a maiden win over Togo and then a goalless draw at home to Zambia. One week later they almost held the same side again, only to lose 1-0 after a late penalty.
Saturday's match will take place on neutral ground in Accra, Ghana, and Mesina believes Swaziland will return home having seized an all-important victory. "We are going there to take a scalp," he continued.
"We have to because everyone in Swaziland expects us to win. We are going to win 1-0. We want to qualify for the next round and I think there will be massive celebrations when we come back."
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