1 July 2017 – Bafana Bafana have completed preparations for their clash against Tanzania in their first match of the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup.
South Africa come into the match as defending champions after defeating Botswana 3-2 in the 2016 edition held in Windhoek, Namibia.
Bafana Bafana and Tanzania clash on Sunday, 2 July 2017 in the quarterfinals of the competition at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Kickoff is at 17h00.
The South Africans have been in camp since Friday, 23 June to prepare for the tournament.
“Everything has been going well at training and hopefully what we have been working on we will be able to implement in the match against Tanzania. Most of us will be making their debut for Bafana Bafana so it will be a very special game for all of us. We just have to go out there and do the best we can so we can make the nation proud,” said goalkeeper Boalefa Pule.
“We have the biggest advantage because most of the boys have been with assistant coach Thabo Senong in the U20 Men’s National Team, so there is some continuity in the team. Also, and most of us know each other well as we played in the U20 and U23 National Teams so this is an opportunity for us to also continue what the coach started in Nigeria with that famous win.”
The Supersport United goal minder says the players are not only looking at the game against Tanzania, but at the bigger picture.
“It’s every player’s dream to play for Bafana Bafana, and if I do get the chance I will make the most of it. The coach has been telling us that no one owns the jersey in the national team, so it’s a chance for us to raise our hands for the next qualifying games to tell the coach we are here and want to be part of that squad,” added Pule.
The former U20 international player says reuniting with former Supersport United coach Stuart Baxter can be an advantage if used properly.
“There’s two ways of looking at it – it might easy but that borders on the complacency, you have to be more professional about it and guard what you are doing because it might be easy to grasp some of the things the coach wants but it may, on the other hand, push to you to relax because you think the coach knows what you can do – so it’s a thin line between knowing the coach and doing what he wants. It’s an advantage if you are professional about it,” said Pule.
Tanzania is making their third appearance in the regional championship. They came as invited guests after the withdrawal of Comoros.
The East African nation played their first COSAFA Castle Cup in 1997, with the second appearance coming in 2015 – they failed to win any of their matches on those two occasions.
They got their first three points when they defeated Malawi 2-0 in this year’s edition, followed by two draws against Angola (0-0) and Mauritius (1-1) to book their place in the quarterfinals.
This is the third meeting between the two nations – the first was in 2002 in a Four Nations Castle Lager Cup, with Bafana Bafana winning 4-3 on penalties under Shakes Mashaba.
The second clash took place in 2011 – an international friendly match led by Pitso Mosimane where the South Africans won 1-0 with a Siyabonga Sangweni goal.
Bafana Bafana have won the COSAFA Castle Cup four times (2002, 2007, 2008, 2016) and will be hoping Baxter’s young brigade continue with their winning streak in the tournament. Only Zambia and Zimbabwe have won the same number of times.
NB: In the event of a tie at the end of regulation time 90 minutes, there will be no extra time but the match will move to a penalty shootout to decide the winner.