20 July 2017 – It’s a challenge for us to assemble squads that are well balanced and that serve some useful purpose, and we made a commitment to having a combination of young players and then more experienced players that we think have something more to offer in terms of supporting the young ones, and/or knocking on the door. We didn’t go out and make a call up to 50 players who all withdrew. We tried to find two squads that serve our game. So COSAFA went ok, we had a younger squad, a little more experimental – on a scale of 1-10 I would give it 6 or 7. We weren’t delighted but we weren’t disappointed either.
Now the transition to CHAN is quite difficult because it’s a completely new squad and so we went to Botswana on the back of a few training sessions and I was really impressed by how the players applied themselves. They played in a well-organised way, knowing the game plan and executing it pretty well – but not great because as a South African national team we could show more skill, especially on transition and in being clinical to make a 2-0 victory a 5-0 nil one, we could have done that. But we are pleased with the two nil win.
We are going to stay committed to our rationale, that we are going to give international experience to more players, get some young players on the field and at the same time win the game. There will be changes and we will change the way we are going to play as well. We are going to challenge the squad by playing in a different way and we will see how it goes. Does that mean we don’t care about the results, absolutely not. We are desperate to win and go through because there are a few of these players who see an opportunity to play in another couple of fixtures. The players have been applying themselves very well and it’s been an interesting camp so far.
CHAN vs CAPE VERDE WC QUALIFIER
We have a game to play now against Botswana, when we win that one we go through and then we face Zambia. If I am on that camp then I walk away a few days before we go to Cape Verde. So the question is what will be my involvement in that camp given the fact that I have to prepare properly for a vital World Cup qualifier. We don’t want to give it (CHAN) away, we don’t want to give away the experience that it will give us but in terms of our staffing on that camp that’s something that we are going to discuss because the World Cup qualifier is vital, CHAN is an important one in terms of development and we will give it everything we have because we want that development possibility for players to play at least two more games. And if we go past Botswana, why can’t we knock Zambia over and let these players get more international experience.
But one thing we are not going to do is to have a go at CHAN at the expense of our preparations for vital World Cup qualifiers. I have spoken to the SAFA CEO and have already put forward recommendations on how we should staff it, so that it doesn’t interfere with the World Cup qualifiers and that’s really important. And to try and hit that balance we are not going to jeopardise preparations but we are certainly not going to throw away the opportunities that CHAN will throw up for us in terms of our development.