No hol­i­day for Bafana in Mau­ri­tius

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Af­ter a rather gen­tle week build­ing up to their Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Football African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (Chan) qual­i­fier against Mau­ri­tius to­day, Bafana Bafana’s only con­cern is the fit­ness level of left back Lehlo­honolo Nonyane.

The Mpumalanga Black Aces de­fender was the last to ar­rive in camp on Wed­nes­day, af­ter reg­u­lar left full­backs Thabo Mat­laba and Marc van Heer­den both suf­fered Achilles ten­don in­juries and with­drew.

Van Heer­den played in the first leg and Nonyane is seen as his re­place­ment. How­ever, coach Shakes Mashaba said they would try to in­crease his fit­ness level when they got to Mau­ri­tius.

Bafana were sched­uled to have only one train­ing ses­sion at the match venue – Stade An­jalay – yesterday. “[Nonyane] is sus­pect in terms of fit­ness, but at least we are aware of his con­di­tion and know what we need to work on,” said Mashaba ahead of the game, which kicks off at 1pm South Africa time to­day.

With Bafana tak­ing a 3-0 lead into the re­turn leg, Mashaba said the team would have to guard against com­pla­cency. He said the pri­or­ity would be to con­sol­i­date on the three goals they scored at home a fort­night ago. “Our play­ers must not be swal­lowed by the re­sults of the first leg. I al­ways say that we must not al­low yesterday to take most of our energy to ven­ture into to­mor­row. We must pre­pare for to­mor­row and for­get about what we have achieved, be­cause that is history.”

He said he had warned his play­ers not to un­der­es­ti­mate Mau­ri­tius based on the first-leg re­sult.

“We don’t have to go there and run like head­less chick­ens; we need to be com­posed in our mark­ing and not be vul­ner­a­ble and ex­posed at the back. We know they will come at us, as they hope to re­verse the score­line, but we are pre­pared for any on­slaught.”

Apart from the miss­ing Van Heer­den, Mashaba did not make any changes to the team that did duty in the first leg.

Goal­keeper Itume­leng Khune re­tains the arm­band and the No 1 spot, with Tshepo Gumede, Kwanda Mn­gonyama and Wan­dis­ile Let­labika com­plet­ing the back four.

Ris­ing star Gift Mo­tupa, who had a bril­liant game two weeks ago, will part­ner Musa Ny­atama in mid­field, with club­less Mandla Masango and Wil­liam Twala be­ing de­ployed as wingers.

Mashaba also did not break the part­ner­ship of his twin strik­ers Tham­sanqa Gabuza and Siphelele Nt­shangase, who scored one and two goals in the first leg, re­spec­tively.

The win­ner of this match will play ei­ther Swaziland or An­gola to qual­ify for the Chan fi­nals next year.

PHOTO: ASH­LEY VLOTMAN / GALLO IM­AGES

READY Itume­leng Khune will be hop­ing to keep another clean sheet

this af­ter­noon

PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPIX

NO IS­SUES

Shakes Mashaba is happy with his team’s prepa­ra­tions ahead of the match

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