Baloyi is back­ing Bafana

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MOHAU RAMASHIDJA

BAFANA BAFANA will be with­out at­tack­ing cen­tral mid­fielder Cole Alexan­der when they take on Namibia in to­day’s Cosafa Cup Plate fi­nal at Moru­leng Sta­dium (kick-off 5pm), Safa con­firmed yes­ter­day.

The mid­fielder had to quickly re­unite with his team, Su­perS­port United, who will par­tic­i­pat­ing in an im­por­tant CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup fix­ture against CF Mounana in At­teridgeville to­mor­row (kick-off 3.30pm), where a win will see them gain­ing a the up­per hand of mak­ing it into the quar­ter-fi­nals of the com­pe­ti­tion, depend­ing on how TP Mazembe fare in their en­counter Horoya AC in DR Congo.

The ab­sence of Alexan­der means Ben­fica mid­fielder, Thabo Cele, will be given a head start in that role again after im­press­ing in their 2-0 vic­tory over Botswana on Tues­day.

For­mer Bafana goal­keeper Brian Baloyi, who’s now Kaizer Chiefs as­sis­tant coach, said he was pleased with the dras­tic im­prove­ment Bafana made fol­low­ing their 1-0 de­feat by Tan­za­nia in the Cosafa Cup quar­ter-fi­nals.

Baloyi stated that it was quite un­for­tu­nate that Bafana couldn’t de­fend their Cosafa Cup ti­tle, but he added that a win in to­day’s Plate fi­nal would do the new gen­er­a­tion of Bafana play­ers good.

“It was just un­for­tu­nate that they couldn’t go all the way to de­fend the Cosafa Cup ti­tle,” Baloyi said. “But what im­pressed me the most is that they were able to pick them­selves up and pro­duce a stun­ning 2-0 re­sult against Botswana in the Plate semis. They played with more con­fi­dence on the ball in that match.

“In the next match, it will de­pend on whether the coach wants to make changes or not, but I would sug­gest that he doesn’t. The pre­vi­ous group of play­ers he in­tro­duced in that semi-fi­nal played more as a unit (com­pared to the first). He had made seven changes in that squad and they ended up win­ning that en­counter

“Play­ing Namibia in the fi­nal is go­ing to be tough,” Baloyi added.

“They also want it and I wish our boys all the best of luck for this match.”

Mean­while, Baloyi heaped praises on his re­serve side’s shot-stop­per Bruce Bvuma. He said the young goal­keeper han­dled him­self well in his de­but ap­pear­ance for Bafana with his clean sheet.

“He just has to keep on work­ing re­ally hard,” said the proud Baloyi. “I told him that goal­keep­ing de­manded more men­tal strength than the phys­i­cal as­pect of the game from a player. If you are men­tally weak and don’t be­lieve that you are go­ing to do well for your team, then you are go­ing to man­i­fest that out there on the pitch.”

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