Withdrawals have hit the team but coach optimistic

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter believes his charges are not yet ready to face Zambia in the first leg of the 2018 Chan qualifier at Buffalo City Stadium in East London tomorrow (3pm).

Baxter said this was because of the many withdrawals that have befallen his squad but added that they will be ready by the time the match starts.

Having had their base camp in Johannesburg with 22 players, Baxter has added two more players - defender Shane Thompson of Mthatha Bucks, as well Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Wiseman Meyiwa, who was part of the squad that played in this year's Fifa U20 World Cup in Korea.

Thompson arrived on time to attend the first training session at Buffalo City Stadium yesterday, while Meyiwa joined later.

"We have done what we can with the constraints that we have and we will go into the game with a positive attitude. Given the fact that Zambia will come here with probably their best team, we are under no illusion that it is going to be difficult," Baxter said.

"If you looked at the Nigerian team on paper and looked at our team on paper, it was probably only the 25 in the dressing room in Uyo (Nigeria) that believed that we could win the game.

"We are not ready yet but we will be by the time the match kicks off on Saturday [tomorrow]."

The Bafana mentor said his biggest challenge was to get his team to gel.

"First we have to focus on making our squad a team first, that's the biggest thing. You bring them in from all over the country and have a couple of training sessions and they have to try and become a team.

"It's not impossible, we must just get them on the same page."