Bongani Zungu says Ghana will give Bafana a tough outing
Midfielder Bongani Zungu expects Bafana Bafana to be given a tough workout in their friendly Africa Cup of Nations warm-up match against Ghana at the Dubai Police Academy on Saturday.
Zungu said he expects Ghana to have a similar style of play as Bafana’s West African opponents in Group D for Egypt 2019‚ Ivory Coast.
Bafana open their tournament at Cairo’s 30‚000-seat Al Salam Stadium on Monday‚ June 24.
“The practice match should be an interesting game and should test us for Afcon because Ghana are a strong side‚ and will give us an indication on what to expect against Ivory Coast. We are excited and ready‚” Zungu said.
South Africa’s friendly against Ghana is at 5.30pm Dubai time‚ 3.30pm SA time.
Bafana travelled on Monday to Dubai from the first leg of their pre-Afcon training camp in Johannesburg.
They meet Angola at their training venue in Cairo – the Aero Sports Club – in a second and final warm-up friendly on Wednesday at 5.30pm SA and Egypt time.
“The preparations have been good since we started training in South Africa and everyone has been showing hunger – even the guys who didn’t make the [final 23-man] squad showed high professionalism‚” Zungu said.
“They gave the guys who were ultimately selected a real tough competition. No one was guaranteed a place in the final 23-man squad until the last day of the selection. That is how tough competition was.
“This camp has been good and the preparations have been fantastic. Now that we are here in Dubai‚ the guys look sharp‚ they look pumped up and ready.”
Zungu has spent most of the 2018-19 season with Amiens SC in France’s Ligue 1 out injured‚ though made a return to first team action with three appearances in April‚ one starting and two as a substitute.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder said he has some knowledge of the style of play of Bafana’s Group D opponents because he has a teammate‚ midfielder Oualid El Hajjam‚ who is Moroccan; and another‚ Cheick Timité‚ who is from Ivory Coast.
Neither player made their countries’ eventual final squads for the Nations Cup.
“I have two teammates‚ one from Ivory and other from Morocco. I expect tough games from Ivory Coast and Morocco but I believe in our team because we have done well against the so-called big nations‚” Zungu said.
“We are up for the challenge. I am looking forward to a great spectacle in Egypt. We are ready and I had a chat my teammates the other day from Ivory Coast; he sounded confident about them‚ but hey‚ we are also pumped up.”
Bafana meet Namibia in their second Group D game on Friday‚ June 28‚ then Morocco on Monday‚ July 1. All South Africa’s group matches are at Al Salam Stadium.