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Ntseki says players not fazed by history of struggle against small teams

Bafana Bafana promise to see off Sao Tome minnows

Bafana Bafana players in training in Durban on Monday, 9 November ahead of Friday's AFCON qualifier.
Bafana Bafana players in training in Durban on Monday, 9 November ahead of Friday's AFCON qualifier.

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has vowed to ensure his team overcome their minnows curse when they take on Sao Tome and Principe in back to back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers this week.

The South Africans notoriously tend to struggle against teams of lower stature and were infamously held to a draw by Seychelles under Stuart Baxter in the last Cup of Nations qualifying round.

Now as they entertain 182nd-ranked Sao Tome and Principe on Friday (Moses Mabhida Stadium, 9pm) and Monday at Port Elizabeth, Ntseki promised his players were looking forward to the games and were confident of winning both matches.

A repeat of their performance in their warm-up matches against Namibia and Zambia at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg in the previous Fifa international break would be a recipe for disaster, something Ntseki is eager to avoid.

“We need to do well as the supporters demand results and it’s up to us to give them something. The only thing that will make everyone happy is the success of Bafana,” said Ntseki.

The supporters did not forget that disappointing goalless draw with minnows Seychelles in the 2019 Afcon qualifiers in 2018. In the same year Bafana were held to a goalless draw by Libya in Durban in an Afcon qualifier.

“Our players would benefit from playing both games at home and it’s a plus for us. Most of their (Sao Tome) players play in Portugal. We have done our homework. We know their strengths and weaknesses but we won’t take them lightly,” added Ntseki.

Bafana will take time off to attend the unveiling of the late Senzo Meyiwa’s tombstone before training today.

Bafana suffered six withdrawals yesterday. Andile Jali, Abbubaker Mobara, Thulani Serero, Thami Mkhize, Reeve Frosler and Thibang Phete withdrew. Vincent Pule, Thapelo Morena, Thabo Nodada, Tshepho Rikhotso and Mosa Lebusa replaced them.

Thirteen players arrived yesterday and the last group of players of Kamohelo Mokotjo from the US, Bongani Zungu from Scotland and Dean Furman from England are expected today.

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