South Africa v Gambia: Bafana Bafana hoping to turn around woeful run of form

South Africa are hoping to get back to winning ways against minnows Gambia as qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off.

Coach Shakes Mashaba has urged South Africa not to take Gambia lightly as they look to end a dismal run of form and start their Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign with a win.

Bafana Bafana produced a dominant display in qualifying for the 2015 tournament, topping their preliminary group and knocking out then-holders Nigeria.

However, Mashaba's men were then dumped out of the finals at the group stages and have only won one of their last 10 matches - a 3-1 friendly win over Swaziland in March.

Gambia, who have never qualified for the AFCON, appear ideal opponents as South Africa seek to turn their fortunes around in Durban on Saturday.

Yet Mashaba warned: "Some people are talking that Gambia is an easy opposition ... but they've already had a couple of games they drew.

"What worries me is that they'll come and park the bus and wait for us [and] we'll find it difficult.

"They'll be happy to get one point here, so it's a big task for us to dismantle that defence.

"We don't say that's what they'll do. However, most teams in the modern football, away they'll be happy with a draw."

Mashaba has been working hard with his squad in training - with a focus on how South Africa react when they lose the ball in advanced positions.

"We worked on regaining possession as it is a problem in South Africa after losing it, we worked on how to work in regaining the ball,” he explained.

"We were saying to the guys, when we lose the ball, let’s organise ourselves quickly and have more bodies behind the ball.

"We also worked on attacking, how do we use our strengths when we have the ball, we talked about using the width as well as depth."

Gambia were banned from qualifying for the last AFCON, after they were found to have fielded ineligible players in qualifiers for the African Under-20 Championship.

Cameroon and Mauritania represent South Africa and Gambia's other opponents in Group M.