local soccer 3.7.2015 12:09 pm

Bafana Bafana wrap up home preparations

Bafana Bafana players. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Bafana Bafana players. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Bafana Bafana have completed their home preparations before flying out to Mauritius on Friday. South Africa takes on Club M, as the Mauritius national football is known, on Sunday, at the Stade Anjalay. This will be in the second leg clash of a 2016 CHAN qualifier. Kick-off is at 13h00 South African time (15h00 in Mauritius).

Bafana Bafana were scheduled to leave on Thursday, but due to unavailability of flights delayed their departure to Friday. “This has not affected us at all, in fact it was a plus because we managed to squeeze in another fruitful training session. In Mauritius we would have had to look for a field but now we don’t have to do that anymore.

“For now we have completed our preparations and are left with just the 45 minutes or so the day before the match at the match venue – in any case we can’t do much except feel the pitch, so we are happy with the turn of events,” said Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim Mashaba after the squad’s final training session at the University of Johannesburg Stadium in Auckland Park.

The squad has had to make changes to the playing personnel which has also forced changes in the starting line-up. Marc van Heerden starred at left-back in the first leg but injury has ruled him out of the team. Lehlohonolo Nonyane of Mpumalanga Aces has been called up and could be thrown into the fray. The defender trained with the team.

“Changes will always be there, but we haven’t decided on who we are going to play or not. By tomorrow when we get to Mauritius we will know exactly who will start. But I can confidently say we have a left-back which has been a problematic area since the start of the week, unfortunately the player (Nonyane) arrived late in camp and his level of fitness is suspect,” added Mashaba.

“When we get down to Mauritius we hope he would have settled and ready to play. We will talk to our physical trainer to assess him so that in the match we will know how to help him and cover for him if needed.”

Mashaba is also delighted with the way things went this week compared to the preparations leading to the first leg clash.

“It was a very positive and fruitful week for us. The boys showed a lot of hunger – a clear indication that they want to don the national team jersey and we are happy about that,” said the Bafana Bafana mentor, adding this could lead to a good game.

“The question of an avalanche of goals is not easy, the truth is we were happy to score three goals because we haven’t done that in a long time. We can only look forward to doing the same when we get there. We hope we can get a goal or two, but the priority is to consolidate on the goals we have. We are doing everything we can that our boys are not swallowed by the 3-0 victory that we got in the first leg. All our boys are professional enough and I know they will forget about the past – we always tell them that they must forget about yesterday and prepare for tomorrow. What we achieved yesterday is history now.”

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