Phumlani Ntshangase: South Africa U-23s have no fear heading into Tunisia clash at AFCON
Posted: 4 December 2015 Time: 06:09
National U-23 midfielder Phumlani Ntshangase says there is no fear in the team going into tonight's crucial CAF U-23 AFCON clash with Tunisia in Senegal.
South Africa need a win or a draw to advance to the semi-finals of the competition along with Group A winners Senegal.
A defeat will see Tunisia progress in the tournament, which serves as a final qualifier for next year's Olympic Games in Brazil.
The top three finishers at the event will secure a spot at Rio 2016.
South Africa and Tunisia met in back-to-back friendlies in September. Owen da Gama's charges won the first game 4-0 before losing 2-1 in North Africa.
"It’s going to be a very good game to play, one that everyone is looking forward to," Ntshangase said.
"This one means a lot because it’s a decider between Tunisia and us as to who will go to the semi-finals, and we all want to go there. It’s going to be tough though.
"We have played them before but it was a friendly match and it is all in the past. This is a different ball game. The confidence of our team is very high - no one is scared because this is a big dream for us to go to Rio de Janeiro and we will give all we can. They are very big guys, they are very good in the air but we have to play our own game and we will then be able to handle them."
Da Gama's men beat Zambia 3-2 on Tuesday, with Ntshangase drawing encouragement from their display in Dakar.
"We played good football against Zambia and we should take that performance into the Tunisia match. If we play it on the ground, which is where we are strong, it will work for us and because of their size they not as fast as we are so we should take that advantage.
"We must go for a win and not think of a draw. I was telling my teammates that it would be lovely to qualify outright with a win rather than looking at the permutations. A win will save us all that trouble and get us closer to our dream," concluded the Bidvest Wits man.
Tonight's game kicks off at 19h00 (SA time) at Stade Caroline Faye in M'bour.