Ntseki questions how Sudan had extra day to prepare for decisive game against Bafana

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki during the 2022 TOTAL Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match between South Africa and Ghana at FNB Stadium on March 25, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki during the 2022 TOTAL Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match between South Africa and Ghana at FNB Stadium on March 25, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has questioned the Confederation of African Football’s scheduling that will see Sudan have an extra day to travel and prepare for the decisive final 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group C qualifier in Omdurman on Sunday.

South Africa‚ after a 1-1 draw to Ghana at FNB Stadium on Thursday night‚ need a draw or win to qualify for the 2021 Nations Cup in Cameroon – delayed a year by Covid-19 to January and February 2022.

Sudan – who have hit form in the qualifiers‚ following up a 1-0 home win against Ghana with this week’s 2-0 victory in Sao Tome and Principe – need a win at home in the closing game.

Ntseki‚ though‚ questioned how Sudan were able to play Sao Tome on Wednesday afternoon‚ when it is normally standard practise in a group phase or league to play the final two rounds at the same time.

This will give Sudan an extra training session aimed at their game against Bafana.

Ntseki was asked about Sudan’s accumulation of six points from their last two games‚ and was at pains to assure South Africans that Bafana have the firepower to earn a draw in Omdurman.

“They’ve got the points and currently we have South Africa at 10‚ Sudan at nine and Ghana at 10. So I think the group is still very much open. And Sudan playing at home will always fancy their chances of winning and qualifying‚” Ntseki said.

“But I think from our assessment and analysis of Sudan and the players who we have in camp we are capable of doing well and qualifying in Sudan.

“We are aware that Sudan won‚ and we have the clips of how they won the game.

“And the expectation was for the four teams to play on the same day‚ at the same time‚ but we were very surprised to be told that Sudan played their game on Wednesday. And we are still to face the same situation‚ like what happened in the first leg.

“In the first leg they played on the Wednesday against Sao Tome‚ and flew into South Africa that night. We had to play Ghana in Ghana on Thursday‚ drive through the night to the airport‚ fly to South Africa and arrive in the evening on Friday‚ one training session [on the Saturday] to prepare and then play Sudan on the Sunday.

“So it’s a repeat. But being a repeat it has made us much stronger‚ because this is a situation that we can’t do anything about. And the team is looking forward to going to Sudan and doing everybody proud.”

A draw would see Bafana‚ currently on 10 points‚ finish on 11‚ a point ahead of Sudan – who have nine and would go to 10. The top two teams qualify. Ghana (11 points) are favourites to win Group C as they meet Sao Tome (zero points) at home on Sunday.

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