Bafana put Afcon travel woes behind

Assistant coach Molefi Ntseki (white top) and Bafana Bafana players at training last week before they departed for Dubai where they are preparing for the Afcon finals.
Assistant coach Molefi Ntseki (white top) and Bafana Bafana players at training last week before they departed for Dubai where they are preparing for the Afcon finals.
Image: Gallo Images / Lefty Shivambu

Bafana Bafana have put their relatively chaotic travels to Dubai behind them and begun their pre-Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) camp at full speed.

Bafana's trip to Dubai was marred by disarray. The confusion was that the team was booked on different flights, forcing them to book afresh to travel together. This saw them leave on Tuesday, a day later than planned.

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"We have travelled very well... from SA to Dubai," assistant coach Molefi Ntseki said yesterday.

"When I look back I see that there's a lot of improvement in terms of our preparations going into [the] Afcon tournament."

Hosted by Egypt, the Afcon starts next Friday and ends in July. Bafana are pitted against neighbours Namibia, Morocco and Ivory Coast in Group D. SA face the latter in their first encounter on day three of the continental spectacle.

"We also need to understand that preparing for a one-match qualifier is very different from preparing for the tournament, where you are likely to play more than five matches in the space of 30 days," said Ntseki.

"So the preparations have to be spot on. We have to do a lot of physical conditioning; the fitness trainer has to look to that. But at the same time you cannot say we have enough time to prepare. As a coach you are always looking for more days, more hours and more minutes to prepare."

The Bafana second-in-command also reflected on the dilemma they faced when they had to trim the provisional squad to 23.

"Looking at the team itself, we had to cut the team from a bigger number to a required number by CAF, which is 23 players, 20 infield players and three goalkeepers,'' Ntseki said.

" It was a very difficult decision to come with the best 23 because all the players that came to camp raised their hands."

Bafana face Ghana in a friendly on Saturday (5.30pm SA time).

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