Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has warned that in modern days no team must be termed minnows anymore.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s quarter-final COSAFA Cup tournament clash with neighbours Botswana at Morulong Stadium (kick-off 17h30), the Bafana Bafana coach said all teams around the world had taken football to the next level.
He said as of neighbouring countries, they would do anything to make sure that they get a result against South Africa, making tomorrow’s match against Botswana a tricky affair.
“That is what makes our task on Sunday awkward. Every country we play against want to beat South Africa. They raise their game to the next level and will play as if their lives depend on that match.
“The match against Botswana will be tightly contested. Make no mistake,” said Mashaba adding that the new-look Bafana Bafana was starting to get into shape.
The squad played a practice match against Malawi at Mogwase Stadium on Friday afternoon, coming off with a credible 2-1 win but Mashaba said no one must read much into that encounter.
“What I liked about that game was that the boys looked hungry, scored two well-worked goals but I just need to tighten a few areas. We lost shape in the second half against Malawi but I suppose that was caused by too many changes we made late in the game.”
Mashaba is a previous winner of the COSAFA tournament 12 years ago and said he hoped his love of the tournament would rub off the players again on Sunday when they meet Botswana.
“It is a springboard for greater things. We have a long and gruelling journey this year we have the CAF 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in addition to CHAN tournament and then 2018 World Cup qualifiers, all in the horizon so we need to use every match as part of these preparations.”
Meanwhile, his Botswana counterpart, Peter Butler said the Sunday match against Bafana Bafana should be a thriller.
“I am looking forward to this encounter. We are ready and want to give a shot at this tournament. The boys are fired up and raring to go, come tomorrow, we should give Bafana Bafana a good run worth their money,” said a confident Butler.
Source : South African Football Association