Bafana Bafana CHAN squad captain Wandisile Letlabika is optimistic that they will do well against Angola in the first left of the 2016 Rwanda CHAN qualifier on Saturday at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg. Kickoff is at 15:00. Letlabika was part of the squad that defeated Mauritius in the last round of this competition.
He says: ‘First of all I need to say that it is a huge surprise for me to be named the captain of the team and I am thankful to the coaching staff for bestowing me with this honour as there are many leaders in this squad. We are all looking forward to the clash against Angola, and we all know it’s going to be a tough day in the office, but our aim is to start well by winning the first game at home.’ His words were echoed by his vice-captain, goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands, who says: ‘I agree totally, it’s not going to be an easy one. We all know Angola is a solid team with some dangerous players, so I think we just have to focus on what we can control which is our performance and give our best on the day, and, God willing, that will be enough to take us through to the second leg. We obviously don’t want to leave too much to be done when we are there, so have to get a positive result on Saturday.’
He added that the CHAN tournament will also be great outing for those players who don’t get regular game time at their clubs: ‘It will be great exposure for us all, especially the players who haven’t been playing much. We will get a chance to showcase our talents. We are looking forward to the game and hopefully we can serve the country well because it is an honour to be here, and I will wear the jersey with great pride. I will make sure I maximise the opportunity I get and showcase the talent I have. The most important thing is to be positive and keep working hard. I feel I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. I would just like to help the team qualify for the tournament.’
For debutant, Mlungisi Mbunjana, it feels like a dream to be called up into the national team. Mbunjana says: ‘If you dream anything is possible – it is a great honour to be called up to the national team and I will represent my country with pride. It’s been a tough journey where I come from to where I am today. Right now it is a great experience being part of the team, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Wayne, Wandisile and Thabo (September).’ Both South Africa and Angola will complete their preparations at the match venue on Friday afternoon at 16:15 and 15:00 respectively. Gift Motupa is unlikely to feature in the match as he has a troublesome knee injury.
Dario Cardoso will captain Angola, while the coach is Romeu Filémon. Tickets for the match are still available at Computicket outlets as well as Checkers, Shoprite and Shoprite/Checkers stores around the country. They are on sale for R40 all round. The return leg will be played at the 11th October Stadium in Luanda on Saturday, 24 October.