14 June 2019 – Bafana Bafana midfielder Bongani Zungu has spoken out on the team’s preparations for the upcoming AFCON tournament including the practice match against Ghana on Saturday, 15 June 2019 at Dubai Police camp in Dubai.
The practice match between Bafana Bafana and the Black Stars of Ghana will kick off at 17h30 (15h30 SA time).
The Amiens SC star said the entire team has been showing hunger and the amount of professionalism displayed by the team was amazing.
“The preparations have been good since we started training in South Africa and everyone has been showing hunger even the guys who didn’t make the squad showed high professionalism. They gave the guys who were ultimately selected a real tough competition. No one was guaranteed a place in the final 23-man squad until the last day of the selection. That is how tough competition was,” said Zungu.
“This camp has been good and the preparations have been fantastic. Now that we are here in Dubai, the guys look sharp, they look pumped up and ready. Everything has been good, we just need to keep going.”
Zungu said the match against Ghana would give the team an indication of what to expect when they play Ivory Coast on 24 June in Cairo in their group opening game.
“The practice match should be an interesting game and should test us for AFCON because Ghana is a strong side and will give us an indication on what to expect against Ivory Coast. We are excited and ready,” he said.
The tall midfielder said he was excited and grateful at being named among the 23-man squad and would try to repay the faith showed to him by the coach.
“I am very grateful for being selected in the final squad because I have not had a season that I would have liked at my club because of injuries but I am looking sharp. I am fit, my legs are strong, my weight is good and I feel good. Every day I feel strong. Given a chance I would try to help this team achieve things.”
He said he had a slight idea of both Ivory Coast and Morocco’s make up as two of his teammates are Moroccans and the other from Ivory Coast.
“I have two teammates; one from Ivory and other from Morocco. I expect tough games from Ivory Coast and Morocco but I believe in ourselves because we have done well against the so called big nations. We are up for the challenge. I am looking forward to a great spectacle in Egypt. We are ready and I had a chat with one of my teammates the other day from Ivory Coast; he sounded confident but hey, we are also pumped up,” said Zungu.
Turning to his former club Mamelodi Sundowns who were crowned South African champions again and reached the semis of the CAF Champions League, Zungu said coach Pitso Mosimane, club president Patrice Motsepe, the players and the entire Brazilians family, had made Mzansi proud with their achievements.
“I speak to coach Pitso almost every week on WhatsApp. I sent him a message before they played in the semis for the CAF Champions League and when they won the league title.
“I am very happy for him and the Sundowns family, the team has been growing ever since we were playing there with the likes of Keagan Dolly, Percy Tau and the like. This team has been growing stronger and stronger. They have proven to be one of the best in Africa and they will achieve a lot on the continent,” he said adding that even in Europe now, a lot of people were talking about Sundowns and that it made him feel proud to tell people that he once played for this great team.
“One day I saw the President (Patrice Motsepe) in Paris and I told him what I told coach Pitso about the opportunities that the team afforded me and how proud I was of the club.
He said Sundowns’ exploits on the continent had major spin offs for the national team.
“When the teams like Sundowns do well in Africa, it helps the national team a great deal, so yeah, what a team and what a coach. Pitso is one coach who demands a lot from the players and is a fantastic guy.”