Senong hopeful that Bafana can still qualify

Thabo Senong addresses the media. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Thabo Senong addresses the media. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Thabo Senong remains hopeful Bafana Bafana can still make it to the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan), despite the ignominy of a 2-0 home defeat by Angola on Saturday.

A makeshift Bafana side were second best to Palancas Negras at Rand Stadium, in the first leg of their final qualifier for the tournament, which takes place in Rwanda early next year.

The second leg will be played in Luanda on Saturday, with Bafana needing a minor miracle reverse the deficit.

“We have an uphill task but there are another 90 minutes to fight in Luanda and we are not going as sheep to the slaughter,” said Senong after the game.

The Bafana assistant coach took charge of this Chan match because Shakes Mashaba only returned from Central America on Friday.

“We are going (to Luanda) as a team. We have realised some weaknesses but we still believe. We created many chances and luck was not on our side. We will give our all over the next 90 minutes and try to get another two or three goals to have a chance to qualify for Chan.”

Bafana’s problems against Angola started before this game, with the match not falling on a Fifa date, and as such clubs not obliged to release their players.

The South African side that took the field against Palancas Negras featured seven players making their debuts, with another two debutants coming off the bench.

Angola, by contrast, had a strong squad available, with the Angolan league having finished the previous weekend. And the class and better tactical aptitude of Romeu Filemon’s side told, as second half strikes from Mateus Galiano and Ary Papel gave them the win.

“I think it was a well-played match with both teams playing their hearts out … I think tactically my team was more disciplined. The goals were well worked,” said Filemon.

“Obviously South Africa had their opportunities but besides the two goals we scored, we also had another three opportunities that we didn’t take.”

Bafana also face Angola next month in two Fifa World Cup qualifiers, but aside from a confidence-booster for Palancas Negras, not much can be read into those games from these Chan matches.

If some of the Angolan Chan squad will feature in the World Cup games, it is highly likely that not one of the Bafana players on show on Saturday will be there in November.

“Obviously we are talking a different story when we play Angola in the World Cup qualifiers … it is a Fifa date … and there is a big pool to select from, from our top performers in the PSL to our top performers abroad,” added Senong.

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