Bafana, Zam­bia’s var­ied goals

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MAZOLA MOLEFE @su­per­journo

WHILE the do­mes­tic sea­son gets un­der­way with the MTN8 this weekend, the Buf­falo City Sta­dium in East Lon­don will host a low key in­ter­na­tional fix­ture be­tween Bafana Bafana and Zam­bia in the first leg of the African Na­tions Cham­pi­onships (CHAN) qual­i­fier.

It’s a match that has in­vited con­trast­ing re­ac­tions from the two coaches in South Africa’s Stu­art Bax­ter and Chipolopolo’s Wed­son Nyirenda – the former mak­ing it clear it’s a game he would have rather del­e­gated to his as­sis­tant while he fo­cused on an up­com­ing World Cup qual­i­fier against Cape Verde, while the lat­ter has re­venge on his mind af­ter Bafana knocked out Zam­bia in a qual­i­fier for this very tour­na­ment in 2011.

Bax­ter has also had to beg for play­ers, which has made his prepa­ra­tion for this match a nui­sance.

Nyirenda on the other hand has been able to as­sem­ble pretty much the same side that beat Bafana 2-1 in a friendly match in Pho­keng two months ago.

This cur­rent Bafana team is made up of re­serve league and Na­tional First Di­vi­sion play­ers and Chipolopolo have the cream of the crop from their do­mes­tic league.

“I ex­cept a tough game,” said the Bafana coach.

“But I’ve got to be com­fort­able be­cause this is the re­al­ity and we have the play­ers we’ve got.

“Some of them we know a lot bet­ter than oth­ers.

“We have got to turn this into a unit that can go on and win the game.

“You can’t com­pare the two sides be­cause there are a lot of play­ers that have come in and oth­ers that have come out.

“Zam­bia is a strong team and we are go­ing to have our hands full – even on our own patch.”

The sec­ond leg will be played next weekend in Ndola and Bax­ter said he again ex­pected as many as eight play­ers to with­draw be­cause PSL clubs be­gin their league cam­paign.

The win­ner over the two legs will qual­ify for the CHAN tour­na­ment next year.

“These lads are hun­gry to do well and this is not about them not be­ing good enough, but rather about them hav­ing their chance,” said Bax­ter.

“They can take on board what we want to do and give a per­for­mance.

“And a cou­ple of them have put their hand up a lit­tle bit and said ‘hey, coach just keep an eye out on me’.

“They want to leave the camp with the coach think­ing they are not that bad.

“Lets just keep that pot bub­bling.”

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