Xulu cautions Bafana against Ethiopia threat

Defender warns teammates not to become complacent

Neville Khoza Journalist
Andre Ayew of Ghana and Siyanda Xulu of South Africa during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Ghana at FNB Stadium.
Andre Ayew of Ghana and Siyanda Xulu of South Africa during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Ghana at FNB Stadium.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

Bafana Bafana defender Siyanda Xulu has warned his teammates to guard against complacency when they face Ethiopia in the back-to-back 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifiers or risk seeing a great start to the qualifiers disintegrate once again.

Bafana, who are top of Group G with four points from two matches, will travel to Ethiopia today for their fixture at Bahir Dar Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.

However, Israel-based Xulu is worried that his side may be complacent after their 1-0 victory over Ghana in the previous match and urged them not to take Ethiopia lightly.

“We don’t want to be complacent. We know very well that we were able to perform the way we did because of the preparations and the respect we gave Ghana,” Xulu told the media.

“Going to Ethiopia is not going to be easy. We have few Ethiopians playing in the same league in Israel. I know very well how tough they can be, so it is not going to be an easy game.

“I think two or three players, if I’m not mistaken and they are doing fairly well. That’s why I’m persistent on us [not] being complacent that we are playing Ethiopia and the fact that we’ve beaten Ghana now we think we have reached whatever we want.

“We are not even nearly there. We have another four games to play. We currently played two and it doesn’t mean anything for now.”

The 29-year-old feels it may prove difficult to get six points against the Ethiopians in the back-to-back qualifiers, a target set by coach Hugo Broos.

“It is always difficult, especially the first encounter when we are playing them away. They are not even far from us when it comes to rankings,” Xulu said.

“So we can never be complacent and say we are going to have a walk in the park. It can never be. It is a World Cup qualifier, it is always difficult.

“First of all we just have to look forward to the first encounter, which is away and for us is just about getting the results.

“The fact that Ethiopia is sharing points with Ghana shows that it is never easy. I’m going to be persistent that it will never be easy.”

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