Hu­mil­i­ated Bafana in Dakar for re­turn clash

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

BAFANA Bafana ar­rived in the Sene­galese cap­i­tal of Dakar in the early hours of Sun­day to start prepa­ra­tions for the final Fifa World Cup qual­i­fier against the West Africans.

The two teams met on Fri­day evening at a packed Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium where the vis­i­tors cap­i­talised on two er­rors to walk away with a pre­cious 2-0 win.

“When one plays for the coun­try, there is noth­ing like ful­fill­ing the match. There is noth­ing like dead rub­ber matches. We are go­ing into to­day’s game in­tent on win­ning it and that is what we will go for,” said coach Stu­art Bax­ter.

The team left Polok­wane on Satur­day af­ter a twohour re­gen­er­a­tion ex­er­cise at the match venue and flew straight to Dakar in an eight-hour jour­ney from OR Tambo Air­port to the bustling Sene­gal cap­i­tal.

The com­pleted a late prac­tice ses­sion on Sun­day and will round up prepa­ra­tions at the match venue on Mon­day evening. The match will take place at 9.30PM South Africa time.

All of Africa’s Fifa World Cup qual­i­fy­ing matches con­clude at the same time to­day in a com­pe­ti­tion which has pro­duced some amaz­ing re­sults and foot­ball.

Mean­while, Safa’s team medic, Dr Thu­lani Ng­wenya, has ad­mit­ted to fac­ing one of the most tricky weeks in his ca­reer so far re­gard­ing clear­ing num­ber one goal­keeper Itume­leng Khune to play in Fri­day’s match.

Dr Ng­wenya said he was faced with an awk­ward sit­u­a­tion in which he would have re­ceived back­lash from fans and clubs had Khune ag­gra­vated his fa­cial in­jury and would have been damned had he ruled him out of Fri­day’s match.

“It was one of the most dif­fi­cult cases that I have come across in my ca­reer. But in the end, we did our best as a team and it paid off.

“I would have been damned had Itu ag­gra­vated his in­jury and would have been damned had I de­cided not to play him. In the end, it was a brave and cor­rect call that we made a last-minute de­ci­sion to field him and it all went well,” said Dr Ng­wenya.

“I would like to also give credit to the team phys­io­ther­a­pist and masseur for their pro­fes­sion­al­ism and dili­gent work in mak­ing sure the player was fit to play.”

The team medic said what made Khune’s sit­u­a­tion more del­i­cate was the fact that the pub­lic had seen him train­ing with the rest of the team dur­ing the week and rul­ing him out at the last minute would have left the team’s plans in some dis­com­fort. In our med­i­cal pro­fes­sion, we al­ways put the health of the player ahead of any­thing else.

“But once we got scans from his club (Kaizer Chiefs), our main fo­cus for the rest of the week was to make him ready for the game. We slowly in­te­grated him into the team and the player re­sponded pos­i­tively.

“We how­ever, had to make the final call on his in­clu­sion into the team at the very last minute be­cause every de­ci­sion was very crit­i­cal,” he said. — Sport24.

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