SAFA : Mashaba’s focus is beating Gambia
Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has insisted his primary objective going into Saturday’s penultimate Orange CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 qualifier against hosts Gambia, was victory and nothing else.
The game is scheduled to kickoff at 19h00 South African time which is 17h00 here.
“We are here for a win and nothing else. We know we put ourselves on the back foot in the group by drawing with Gambia and losing to Mauritania in the first two games but football is a funny game, we get a victory here and lots of things might change,” said a relaxed Mashaba.
Bafana Bafana held a gruelling training session at Banjul FIFA Goal Project Centre in blazing heat on Thursday afternoon and with the entire team enjoying a clean bill of health; Mashaba said he was finding it difficult to name his final eleven.
“It is a dilemma but an exciting dilemma all the same. Everyone wants to be in the starting line-up and that is what one need in such a situation; jostling for positions.”
The two teams played to a goalless draw in the first leg in Durban, a result that put Bafana Bafana on the back foot in this campaign but Mashaba said while the Gambians sat back in the first leg, that won’t be the same this time around.
“We must take the game to the Gambians which must give the spectators their money’s worth because as hosts, they cannot afford to sit back. So expect a ding dong affair. We will definitely go for the jugular and let fate decide our destiny,” added Mashaba.
The Bafana Bafana coach’s sentiments were echoed by midfielder Dean Furman who said a win in Saturday’s encounter was non-negotiable.
“The first leg was a big disappointment because despite creating lots of chances, we failed to put them away. Gambia hardly manufactured anything in that match as they were content with a draw but this time around, it will be a different ball game altogether,” said the tenacious Furman.
Goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo a bright prospect for the future and an understudy of Itumeleng Khune said chances of Bafana Bafana coming away with a win on Saturday were very high and as a newcomer, was amazed at the mood in the camp.
“It is just wonderful for one to play for his country and have witnessed one of the most amazing camaraderie among the players. It just goes to show how playing for the country can unite people.”
Bafana Bafana currently lie third on the table with three points after four matches. Cameroon leads the pack on 8 points, one more than second-placed Mauritania while Gambia has two points.
South Africa will host Mauritania in the last match of the qualifiers in September.
NB: The winner of the group will progress to the 16-nation AFCON finals, along with two best-placed runners up.
South Africa’s 2017 AFCON Results
South Africa 0 – 0 Gambia 13 June 2015 (Durban)
Mauritania 3 – 1 South Africa 5 September 2015 (Nouakchott)
Cameroon 2 -2 South Africa 26 March 2016 (Limbe, Cameroon)
South Africa 0 – 0 Cameroon 29 March 2016 (Durban)
Remaining 2017 AFCON Fixtures:
Gambia vs South Africa Saturday, 4 June 2016
South Africa vs Mauritania Saturday, 4 September 2016
BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD LIST 2017 AFCON QUALIFIERS vs CAMEROON
|1.||Itumeleng KHUNE||Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)|
|2.||Jackson MABOKGWANE||Mpumalanga Aces FC (SA)|
|3.||Brighton MHLONGO||Orlando Pirates FC (SA)|
|4.||Ramahlwe MPHAHLELE||Mamelodi Sundows FC (SA)|
|5.||Diamond THOPULA||Chippa United FC (SA)|
|7.||Erick MATHOHO||Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)|
|8.||Sifiso HLANTI||Bidvest Wits FC (SA)|
|9.||Rivaldo COETZEE||Ajax Cape Town FC (SA)|
|10.||Teboho LANGERMAN||Mamelodi Sundowns FC (FC)|
|11.||Andile JALI||KV Oostende FC (Belgium)|
|12.||Thulani SERERO||Ajax Amsterdam FC (Nederland)|
|13.||Thapelo MORENA||Bloemfontein Celtic FC (SA)|
|14.||Mpho MAKOLA||Orlando Pirates FC (SA)|
|15.||Mandla MASANGO||Randers FC (Denmark)|
|16.||Hlompho KEKANA||Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)|
|17.||Keagan DOLLY||Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)|
|18.||Dean FURMAN||Supersport United FC (SA)|
|19.||May MAHLANGU||Sint-Truidense FC (Belgium)|
|20.||Thamsanqa GABUZA||Orlando Pirates FC (SA)|
|21.||Sibusiso VILAKAZI||Bidvest Wits FC (SA)|
|22.||Ndumiso MABENA||Platinum Stars FC (SA)|
|23.||Thobani MNCWANGO||Polokwane City FC (SA)|