Orlando Pirates-inspired Rayners keen on stopping Nigeria in Uyo – ‘If Bafana can’t win then we must get a point’

The forward is anticipating making his third appearance in a row for the Hugo Broos side on June 7 against the 2023 Afcon finalists.

Stellenbosch striker Iqraam Rayners will have an opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in Africa and the world at large when Bafana Bafana play the Super Eagles on Friday.

The two nations will be battling for vital three points in their bid to qualify for the 2026 World Cup to be jointly held by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Rayners had a good Premier Soccer League season where he scored 15 goals, one less than Orlando Pirates forward Tshegofatso Mabasa who won the Golden Boot. 

What did Rayners achieve in the concluded campaign?

The 28-year-old striker had the best campaign; apart from missing the Golden Boot by a whisker, the attacker played a vital role in helping Stellies win their first ever major silverware – the Carling Knockout.

The forward was part of Steve Barker’s team that was controversially eliminated from the Nedbank Cup in the semi-final stage by finalists Mamelodi Sundowns.

Furthermore, his league goals helped his team qualify for the Caf Confederation Cup competition, after missing the Caf Champions League spot by a whisker.

It explains why Bafana Bafana coach included him in his last two international friendly matches against Andorra and Algeria respectively where he scored a goal and now, the forward will be in Uyo to represent the nation ahead of Mabasa.

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“I give the confidence to Iqraam now, and it was a decision of him or Mabasa; but Iqraam did very well in the game against Algeria, he scored easily, so I gave him the confidence now and it's up to him to prove it [his worth] certainly,” the Belgian justified his decision.

Confident Rayners now warns Nigeria – ‘A point or a win but not a loss’

Ahead of the Friday fixture, Rayners has revealed the team will be going for nothing less than a win or a draw then collect maximum points at home against Zimbabwe. 

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“I am thankful to the coach [Broos] for believing in me,  it is a great opportunity to be here and I have the confidence to do what the coach asks me to do,” he told the media.

“If we can't win, we must at least get a point in Nigeria. As the coach said, he wants four points from these two games but we will try to get six points…this is football and anything can happen.

We might steal the game in the last minutes in Nigeria; you saw what happened at the weekend [when Orlando Pirates won it late against Mamelodi Sundowns to win the Nedbank Cup].”

Orlando Pirates-inspired Rayners keen on stopping Nigeria in Uyo – ‘If Bafana can’t win then we must get a point’
Willis Sob

Willis Sob is an experienced journalist who has been in the game since 2009, covering major assignments around the continent.
His hunger for African football is unmatched, always getting the best angles and facts to feed the fans and quench their thirst.