Bafana ooze confidence

Thulani Hlatshwayo.
Thulani Hlatshwayo.
Image: Samuel Shivambu /BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana skipper Thulani "Tyson" Hlatshwayo believes it's about time that winning becomes a habit for the national team.

The SA senior team has disappointed on numerous occasions over the past few years at international competitions. Bafana are even being outperformed by junior teams and the women's side, who have qualified for major world tournaments.

Perhaps spurred on by the recent World Cup triumph of the Springboks, Hlatshwayo wants Bafana to become a force to be reckoned with.

"We are not getting any younger. We did well in Egypt at the Afcon and did well against Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge, so we have to make sure we get a trophy," he said.

"When people look back they will say Thulani played at the Afcon and all of that but what did he achieve? Winning has to be a norm for us and we must qualify for all major tournaments."

Bafana could take the first step in changing the narrative when they face Ghana at the Cape Coast Stadium tonight (9pm SA time).

The Group C match is a qualifier for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). The last time the teams faced-off was in a friendly that ended in a goalless draw prior to the 2019 Afcon.

Hlatshwayo says their experience from that friendly match will boost them. "Both teams were preparing for Afcon. The personnel they have are already known, like Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew. It was a practice game so we didn't play the entire game but we have an idea of the team they have."

Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki suggested that he will look to his more experienced players for the match.

"This is an away game, so it will be up to us whether we go for a point or three points. Seeing that we do not have much time to prepare for this game, we will draw from the experience of our senior players in such match-day situations," he said.

Meanwhile, the Black Stars captain Ayew said his side should put their bodies on the line to beat South Africa, even if it means "we have to die".

"South Africa, we have met them a lot of times. Right now every team has its qualities, so we have to block their qualities and use ours because at the end of the day we have great players," Ayew told reporters.

"We have players who have confidence. We have players who want to prove a point and we have people who just want to die for the nation. We have to realise that we are playing for millions of people." - Additional reporting by Nick Said

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