Basetsana ready to rock the DRC

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Basetsana were set to go into camp in Johannesburg yesterday to prepare for the final leg of the World Cup qualifier against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the DRC capital of Kinshasa on June 15.

The South Africans, who beat the Congolese 3-1 in the first leg in Pretoria on Saturday, leave for the DRC on June 13.

Basetsana are well aware that they will need to pull off a tremendous effort to overcome the Congolese who are always stubborn at home. Basetsana could be further frustrated by an intimidating crowd at the stadium.

The hosts' supporters played a crucial role when they spurred their national squad to a narrow 1-0 win that eventually dashed Basetsana's hopes of making their debut in the World Cup finals in 2006. The DRC won on the away goals rule after losing 1-2 to South Africa in the first leg in Mzansi.

Their success should put them in the right mental frame for the second leg but this time Basetsana are a totally different prospect.

Apart from their win over the DRC on Saturday, Basetsana are also on a high after winning the Cosafa Cup last month, walloping hosts Angola on the way.

It was a good move for coach Anna Monate to draft in Basetsana to compete in the Cosafa Cup, which is played by senior national teams. Their participation in the event has made them a much stronger, more composed side.

Players such as Tina Selepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Lusinda Bowers and skipper Gloria Thato have the skill and ability to overcome the challenges in Kinshasa.

Fran Hilton-Smith, the team manager, said they will continue to prepare accordingly for a gruelling assignment in Kinshasa.

Hilton-Smith also warned that they will not be lulled by the comments made by DRC coach Pohy Bonganya after Saturday's tie.

The French-speaking coach said it would be difficult for them to beat Basetsana in Kinshasa.

"He is playing a mind games and we are not going to fall for his tricks," Hilton-Smith told Sowetan yesterday.