CHAN: Senong thanks clubs for their support for CHAN qualifiers
Stand-in coach of the Bafana Bafana CHAN squad Thabo Senong has sent his gratitude to club coaches after they got all the players they had called up for national team duty.
Bafana Bafana faces Angola in a 2016 Rwanda CHAN qualifier on Saturday, 17 October 2015 at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg. Kickoff is at 15h00.
With the CHAN fixture falling on a non-FIFA Calendar date, it has always been a struggle to put together a team to compete, but this time things went according to plan.
“It was all about communication with respective coaches from the clubs. A lot of coaches are willing and want to see Bafana Bafana improving, being successful, and qualifying for tournaments. So a lot of communication took place before we finalised the squad. There was a lot of synergy. They really worked hard to support us,” said Senong.
“The response from coaches at both the National First Division (NFD) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) has been very positive and because of that we are able to prepare thoroughly. We have had challenges before, which we all know about, but I must say the cooperation from the clubs was very good. We are very happy with the balance of the team, we are also happy that we have a lot of leaders in the team.”
Senong is also excited that there won’t be disruptions to the team as they will have the same players for the second leg which will take place on Saturday, 24 October at the 11th October Stadium in Luanda.
“We have been assured that we will have all the players for the second leg, but we only need 18 to travel with to Angola next week. We are fortunate that we will be working with the entire squad until we trim them down to the required number for travelling. The technical team has done a great job where we presented the names of these players and made reqeusts in advance to make sure we have players that we will work with. This is a positive for us,” added Senong.
He has also dismissed the notion that most of the players don’t play for their clubs.
“Some of these players are playing at their clubs, but not in the first team. They feature regurlaly in the reserve league, so they get a regular run and they are quality players. They have playing minutes under their belts but as I said not in the main team, so we have no doubt that we will put out a team that is fit, a team that will make us proud on Saturday,” he said.
Bafana Bafana plays Angola in four back to back clashes – two in CHAN and two in the 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
“Playing Angola in CHAN and defeating them can be a psychologial advantage but at the same time it can be a psychologial disadvantage going into the World Cup qualifiers. Because we can beat them in the first two matches and that could leave us in a position of comfort which is dangerous for us. It is important that we remiain in the right zone, which is the performance zone, so it will not be easy especially when we defeat them. We always have to monitor the psychological state of our players when we approach these kind of games,” said Senong.
South Africa has been hard at work preparing for this clash.
“We have been analysing Angola’s matches but the interesting thing about them is that they don’t have a CHAN or AFCON team, they have one strong team. We now know their key players, their formation, their weakness and strenghts, but make no mistake they are a very competitive side. It’s not going to be easy. We are well aware of what they will bring to us, physically and tactically and mentally,” concluded the coach.
Defender Wandisile Letlabika has been named the captain of the squad the South African squad.