South Africa's Gift Motupa: Pressure's on Senegal at U-23 AFCON
Posted: 10 December 2015 Time: 09:37
National U-23 midfielder Gift Motupa says the pressure will be squarely on Senegal when they battle for a place at next year's Olympics.
The countries will revive hostilities in the U-23 African Nations Cup third place playoff on Saturday, with kick-off set for 16h00 (18h00 SA time) at Stade Leopold Senghor in Dakar.
The victor will join finalists Algeria and Nigeria as Africa's three representatives at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Senegal beat Owen da Gama's side 3-1 in the first game of the competition - a match which Motupa and Orlando Pirates teammate Menzi Masuku missed as they were competing in their club's Confederation Cup Final loss to Eotile du Sahel in Tunisia.
Motupa, however, believes the higher stakes of the rematch could work in the visitors' favour.
"Look, no one likes to lose," Motupa is quoted as saying on Bucs' website following South Africa's 2-0 loss to Algeria in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
"It is always disappointing when we do but all is not lost. It’s one thing losing and being knocked out but with the third/fourth place playoff, we have a lifeline in a way because whoever wins there goes to the Olympics.
"Our match against Senegal will be a tough one. They are big and very physical but over and above that they are also technically sound.
"Fortunately for us, we come into this match with no pressure. We are considered the underdogs because for starters they [Senegal] are the hosts but also by the fact that they beat us in the opening game of the tournament… Pressure will be on them to perform and we look to capitalise on that."