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Bafana assistant coach Thabo Senong upbeat for CHAN qualifier with Zambia despite player withdrawals

Posted: 18 August 2017 Time: 13:05

Bafana Bafana assistant coach Thabo Senong has faith his team can get the job done against Zambia in their final CHAN qualifier in Ndola on Saturday despite the withdrawal of a number of players.

Bafana will tackle Chipolopolo at 15h00 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium having drawn the first first leg 2-2 in East London last weekend.

The hosts can qualify for the tournament in Kenya with a goalless or a 1-1 draw. South Africa, who have scored six goals and conceded two in three previous meetings, need to win to stand a chance of proceeding to the event, which runs from 11 January to 2 February 2018.

Senong said: “Zambia has done well to score the two away goals, which was a bit disturbing for us but it’s all in the past we have another game to play. Zambia will probably be looking for a draw, maybe they will be defensive minded, or they may say we are playing at home let us be a bit adventurous – whatever happens they will be in a panic mode and might open up for us, so I still believe it’s going to be a nice encounter. I am confident we can get some goals in Ndola.”

Bafana wasted no time when they arrived in Ndola and held their first training session on Thursday evening.

“The boys are looking very good and they know they are very close to achieving qualification into the CHAN tournament. Having done so well up to this point, they have no intention of giving up now – the fact we both want it badly and that makes it perhaps the most difficult match of the qualifiers – more so because the overall winner will play in Kenya next year.”

Senong will steer the team in the absence of head coach Stuart Baxter, who is focusing his attention on the upcoming back-to-back 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Cape Verde.

Bafana’s preparations have been hampered by the withdrawal of several players, but Senong says it won’t matter on match day.

Senong has 18 players in camp following the arrival of Cape Town All Stars defender Ricardo Ndiki on Thursday night.

Striker Ryan Moon was left behind after he failed to recover from an injury, while late replacements Siphelele Ndlovu of TS Galaxy (ABC Motsepe League) in Mpumalanga and Siyabonga Ngezana (Kaizer Chiefs) were withdrawn from the squad.

Ndlovu did not have travel documents, while Ngezana was busy with exams and could not honour the national team call-up.

“Thankfully we have brought in players that are used to this kind of challenges, players that have managed to gel quickly so we can build a squad to take on Zambia and compete against them. It is the nature and beauty of this game – that you combine a team quickly and make sure they are prepared,” concluded Senong.

Zambia head coach Wedson Nyirenda is under pressure to do well in Ndola because since his appointment last September, Chipolopolo has lost both matches they played at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium. They went down 2-1 to Nigeria and lost 1-0 to Mozambique.

1.     Steven HOFFMAN     Platinum Stars FC
2.     Bruce BVUMA     Kaizer Chiefs FC
3.     Mario BOOYSEN     Mamelodi Sundowns FC
4.     Malebogo MODISE     Mamelodi Sundowns FC
5.     Kgotso MOLEKO     Kaizer Chiefs FC
6.     Sibusiso KHUMALO     Kaizer Chiefs FC
7.     Ricardo NDIKI     Cape Town All Stars FC
8.     Roscoe PIETERSEN     Ajax Cape Town FC
9.     Jabulani SHONGWE     Bidvest Wits FC
10.     Jamie WEBBER     Stellenbosch FC
11.     Sphelele NTSHANGASE     Black Leopards FC
12.     Sibusiso KUMALO     Mamelodi Sundowns FC
13.     Masilake PHOHLONGO     Ajax Cape Town FC
14.     Wiseman MEYIWA     Kaizer Chiefs FC
15.     Linda MNTAMBO     Jomo Cosmos FC
16.     Bonginkosi NTULI     Mamelodi Sundowns FC
17.     Tshegofatso MABASA     Bloemfontein Celtic FC
18.     Dumisani ZUMA     Bloemfontein Celtic FC

Article by: Staff Reporter
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