Bafana Bafana striker Dino Ndlovu says he is impressed by the camaraderie that exists in the squad since his return into the team after an absence of more than a year. He last made his appearance in March last year in the 5-0 drubbing by Brazil. Ndlovu says: ‘The last few days have been a tremendous experience, being out for about a year from the national team and now back in for this crucial matches. The spirit is high and everyone has been very welcoming. We are like a family and we are looking forward to the game against Angola. It guess it goes down to hard work. I have had my ups and down in the PSL and I was honest and bold enough to come forward and admit things I did wrong and those I did right. I have changed since I got to Cyprus and I have been reaping the results of my hard work.’
South Africa will face Angola in crucial back to back matches of Round 2 of the 2018 Russia World Cup qualifiers. The first leg will be played on Friday, 13 November at the Estadio Nacional de Ombaka. Kick-off is at 16:30 South African time (15:30 local time).
Ndlovu says: ‘I think we are ready for the game, I have seen the hunger and the determination in the boys, as well as the discipine and dedication from the team. I have been in the national team before but the positive feeling is greater than the last time – I have never seen the guys so focussed. We just have to be ourselves, we are not under pressure so we just have to come out with a draw but still go for a win. What we cannot afford to do is to lose this game. This is the most important round than the next one – the group stages – where you have more chances to rectify your mistakes, if you lose the first game you can still play more and win. But here it’s two games, if we lose we are out and we have to wait another four years to get into the qualifiers again. It has been a long wait for the nation to see us in the world cup, and for us who have never played in the World Cup, this is a good platform.’ Ndlovu returns to the national team at the back of a highly successful time in Cyprus and he hopes it will rub off when he plays for his country. He has scored eight goals in seven matches for his club Anorthosis Famagusta, earning him back to back Player of the Month awards in Cyprus.
He is currently the second leading goalscorer in the league. He says: ‘It is quite an achievement, and I belive I have grown up. I cannot repeat the things I did as a youngster, all the mistakes I did in the past. I also have a feeling that if I get a chance to play against Angola I will score – but then again it’s not about me. What is the point of me scoring when the team is down 2-0 or 3-0, it doesn’t help. It would be better if I score and we win the game, that would be great.’ Meanwhile Thulani Serero is expected back at training this afternoon (Thursday, 12 November).
The Bafana Bafana midfielder got a knock on the thigh at Wednesday morning’s training session and sat out the afternoon session as a precaution. Bafana Bafana go into tomorrow’s match with a good record against Angola. In 12 games, Shakes Mashaba’s side has lost only once – just recently in the CHAN qualifiers.
There have been six wins for South Africa with five draws between the two nations.
Photo credit: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images