All 26 Bafana Bafana players are finally in camp for their crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers clash against the Black Stars of Ghana on Thursday evening.
Molefi Ntseki named nine overseas-based players in his initial squad, but only five managed to travel back to South Africa due to the strict COVID-19 regulations.
Bafana are second in the Group with nine points from four matches.
Ntseki is happy that at least five of the nine players that are plying their trade overseas, have finally made it into camp. These are star player, Percy Tau, central defenders, Thibang Phete and Siyanda Xulu, as well as Lyle Foster and Luther Singh.
Bafana Bafana hit by injuries and COVID-19 restrictions:
Some teams are refusing to release players for the official Afcon qualifiers. However, Ntseki says he is content with the 26 players he has in camp.
“If somebody is not available for various reasons, another player will raise up his hand to be considered for selection. Thulani Serero from Al Jazira, they couldn’t release him because of a FIFA circular that says clubs have a right to refuse to release players. You go to England, Dean Furman is also not coming because of the same circular; in Scotland, Bongani Zungu is not coming because of the same circular. Keagan Dolly also, the club refused to release him. Those are the four players that could not make it to be with the team.”
As Bafana players are gearing up for their clash against the Black Stars of Ghana at the FNB Stadium, Brighton and Hove Albion player, Percy Tau, says he is grateful that his club released him to be part of the national team. This is despite the fact that the COVID-19 travel restrictions in the United Kingdom will require him to be quarantined for 10 days upon his return.
Tau says he is happy to be representing his country.
“I’m grateful for Brighton and SAFA to allow me to come and play. I think there are always risks, especially now with the pandemic, but it’s the situation. I will face the 10 days. At least I’m here for something very important and that is to represent the country and we want to try to get six points. We know it’s not going to be easy. It will be difficult, but we try to prepare to get six points.”
Relying on experience
Coach Ntseki says his team will rely on the experience that saw them qualify for the last Afcon tournament played in Egypt in 2019.
He says they are aiming for maximum points in their two remaining matches to finish top of their group.
“It is not mainly about Ghana or Sudan. It is about us representing our country and doing well for our country. This is football and in football, you don’t look down upon anybody. You do proper preparation and this is what we will be doing even though we have few days, but we are doing proper preparations going into this matches.”
The team will travel to Khartoum for their final group match against Sudan on Sunday.