Mashaba not giving up on qualifying for Afcon

Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Shakes Mashaba has not given up the qualifying ghost with regards to Gabon 2017, even though Bafana Bafana have it all to do if they are to make it to next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals.

South Africa host Cameroon in Durban this evening, still trailing the Indomitable Lions by five points in Group M, after the 2-2 draw in Limbe on Saturday.

Mashaba makes three changes, Hlanti gets debut

Even if Bafana win at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, they will probably need Cameroon to slip up in another of their final two qualifiers, with only the two best group runners-up also getting on the plane to Gabon.

“We were disturbed by the result (in Limbe) as we had planned to win the game and it is just most unfortunate that we did not,” said Mashaba.

“But coming back home there is a lot to play for. There are still three games to go, that is nine points, added to the two points we have that would put us on 11 points and gives us a big chance to qualify. I think they (Cameroon) will still lose one or two more games, so it will not be a walk in the park for them.”

Mashaba believes Cameroon will play for a draw in Durban.

“You could see after they got to 2-2 (on Saturday) they wanted a draw,” said Mashaba.

“They will look for another draw, they won’t go all out. It puts them in good stead, they have seven points and if they get another draw by chance that makes them almost 80% certain to qualify. We have to start by trying to throw them off their game and see how they respond.”

Mashaba will have to make some changes for the game against Cameroon – defenders Anele Ngcongca and Thabo Matlaba are both ruled out with injury. This could well mean that either Jomo Cosmos’ Cheslyn Jampies or Bidvest Wits’ Sifiso Hlanti will make their Bafana debuts against Cameroon.

“You can lose a striker or a midfielder and it is not a problem, but losing a defender disturbs your planning … but we have a solution to deal with that,” added Mashaba.

Cameroon arrived in South Africa on Sunday afternoon, boosted by the fact that their top striker, Porto’s Vincent Aboubakar, is available to play in Durban after being suspended for the match in Limbe.

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