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'it's not over'

By unknown | Jun 23, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Safa still insists that Bafana Bafana's technical staff are well positioned to guide the team in their quest to qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola.

This despite the team's goalless draw against Sierra Leone on Saturday, a game where South Africa needed maximum points to comfortably stay in the race.

Many South Africans expected Safa's top brass to intervene in view of the deepening crisis as Bafana Bafana look more and more likely to miss the trip to Angola.

But Molefi Oliphant, Safa president, said: "They [technical team] are a team of experts, they know what to do. We will continue supporting them.

"All of us, we are in a state of panic. We were expecting that by this time we would have been up there, having won two or three games.

"We have to remain positive and hope for the best. We need to continue encouraging our soldiers to keep on fighting. The war has not been lost yet."

When Joel Santana was named coach, South Africans were informed that Carlos Alberto Parreira would serve as his technical director to continue with "the philosophy".

"He [Parreira] will only come as and when the coach [Santana] needs him," said Oliphant yesterday when asked if Parreira had any say in the team."

Aaron Mokoena, team captain, was also optimistic.

He said it was a little early for South Africans to throw in the towel.

Mokoena is confident that Bafana Bafana will bounce back in their remaining two qualifiers against Nigeria (September 6) and away to Equatorial Guinea (October 11).

He said Bafana Bafana were in a similar situation at the end of the Ghana Afcon qualifiers and made it through as the second best country after Zambia won their group.

Saturday's result was another setback to South Africa's hopes of automatic qualification.

Mokoena said: "It's gonna be a difficult one, but we have to wait until the last game. We were just unlucky not to get the goals in this game.

"You will remember in the last Afcon qualifiers, we made it when everybody was already panicking. We just have to stick together to achieve our goal."

Santana was quick to point out that he was not under any pressure after the team collected only four points in four games.

"We can qualify by winning our remaining fixtures against Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. Sierra Leone did not want to play.

"Those guys kept on falling all over the field, maybe they were nervous. The best team does not always win, but our chances are not over."

Saturday's game was emotional torture for South Africans after Bafana Bafana once more went to ground without their scoring boots.

Despite the fact the Leone Stars were ultra defensive, Bafana Bafana missed dozens of golden scoring opportunities that even a blind man could have converted.

In the first half, it was like South Africa were playing only against Christian Caulker, the Sierra Leone goalie who should have been awarded the man of the match award. For the record, Tsepo Masilela got the award.

Ahmed Kanu, Sierra Leone coach, said: "We came here for a draw and got it. You have to remember that we won our match against Bafana Bafana at home."

Mohammed Kallon, Leone Stars' captain, said: "It is a great result for us against the country that will host the 2010 World Cup."

Time is fast running out for Bafana Bafana .


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