Bafana Bafana Ready For COSAFA Cup

Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba says the two matches against Lesotho gave him a clue on what to work on this coming week when the squad enters the final week of preparations ahead of their COSAFA Cup quarter-final clash against Botswana.  The encounter will take place on Sunday, 24 May at Moruleng Stadium in the North West Province.  Kick-off is at 17:30.

To prepare for the match, Bafana Bafana travelled to Lesotho to play two games against the host nation in which they drew both matches 0-0 and 1-1.  Mashaba says:  ‘Both teams played and the matches were ideal preparations ahead of the COSAFA tournament.  Lesotho played very well and we also had some good moments although the side still has not gelled the way we want them to.  There is still a lot of individual play, and we did not combine well.  We also looked like we didn’t want to commit mistakes and made lives difficult for ourselves.  But I believe with time they will come out of their shells.  We waited for the opposition to score first before we could play purposefully.  We could have scored a couple more goals but it is work in progress.’  Mashaba also lamented the lax defence, saying:  ‘The Lesotho goal was purely because of our defensive lapse.  We were supposed to have cleared the ball to safety but we were very casual and we got punished.’

Mashaba admitted they were racing against time to get the team in shape ahead of next Sunday’s kick-off, saying:  ‘This week is very crucial as we have to finalise our preparations.  We have to deal with all our tactical aspects of the game.  We have to remind them of how, when and why to do things on the field.  For instance in one on one situations, when attacking, our boys don’t dribble past their opponents, shifting responsibility whereas they have the skill to get past their markers – so we have to address such issues this week.’  Mashaba made six changes to the team that played in the first match.  Richard Goss started in goal, with Madisha Modjeka, Athenkosi Dlala, Pule Ekstein, Puleng Tlolane and Carl Lark coming in for goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane, Siyabonga Nhlapho, Sibusiso Mxoyana, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Moeketsi Sekola and Phumelele Bhengu.

Marc Van Heerden and Gift Motupa were not considered for the match due to injuries.  Both Van Heerden and goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto are the only players who haven’t been fielded.

Photo credit: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix