Bafana has everything to play for

26 January 2015

Bafana Bafana must win their final group stages match against Ghana on Tuesday night if they are to continue at the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations currently under way in Equatorial Guinea.

South Africa and the Black Stars go into battle on Tuesday, 27 January, at the Stade de Mongomo. Kick-off is at 8pm South African time.

“We are quite optimistic of what is coming our way in terms of the match against Ghana,” said Fikile Mbalula, minister of Sport and Recreation, at a media briefing at the team’s hotel in Equatorial Guinea. “I firmly believe that we can still make it to the next round.”

“You will realise that despite other teams in the group winning, it is still open and everybody is going into the last match with a view of winning and staying in the competition.

“This group has lived up to expectation and characterisation that it is a ‘group of death’, but we have always believed that in the group we will come out alive. Our team is quite determined and courageous going into the final stages of the group stages.”

Meanwhile, defender Thulani “Tyson” Hlatshwayo has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game due to concussion.

Hlatshwayo was substituted early in the first half of the second group stages match against Senegal on Saturday after a clash of heads. His place was taken by Ayanda Gcaba.

South Africa held Senegal to a 1-1 draw.

“Hlatshwayo suffered concussion following that incident … so he is out of the game on Tuesday. But we are hopeful he will be back for the next match should we go through the next round. At the moment he is still under the watchful eye of the medical department,” said Dr Thulani Ngwenya, Bafana Bafana medico.

Meanwhile, Rivaldo Coetzee has improved since he was stretchered off in the opening match of the tournament against Algeria. He missed the Senegal clash.

“We are going to do a late individual fitness test on him to see if he can train with the rest of the squad later today. However, we are confident that he could be available for selection for the game against Ghana – but that will also be dependent on whether the coaching staff uses him or not.

“He has completed his rehabilitation and we are happy with the results. He is pain free at the moment so the key is to see whether he can fully resume training,” said Dr Ngwenya.

Coetzee played only 29 minutes in the opening match of the African soccer showpiece. His place was taken by Siyabonga Nhlapho.

AFCON 2015 FIXTURES

All times CAT (SA, GMT+2)

Monday 26 January 2015

  • Cape Verde Islands v Zambia – Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyin: 8pm
  • Congo DR v Tunisia – Estadio de Bata: 8pm

Tuesday 27 January 2015

  • South Africa v Ghana – Estadio de Mongomo: 8pm
  • Senegal v Algeria – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 8pm

Wednesday 28 January 2015

  • Guinea v Mali – Estadio de Mongomo: 8pm
  • Cameroon v Cote d’Ivoire – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 8pm

Saturday 31 January 2015

  • Group A Winner v Group B Second Place – Estadio de Bata: 6pm
  • Group B Winner v Group A Second Place – Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyin: 9pm

Sunday 1 February 2015

  • Group C Winner v Group D Second Place – Estadio de Mongomo: 6pm
  • Group D Winner v Group C Second Place – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 9pm

Wednesday 4 February 2015

  • Quarterfinal 1 Winner v Quarterfinal 4 Winner – Estadio de Bata: 9pm

Thursday 5 February 2015

  • Quarterfinal 2 Winner v Quarterfinal 3 Winner – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 9pm

Saturday 7 February 2015

  • Semifinal 1 Loser v Semifinal 2 Loser – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 8pm

Sunday 8 February 2015

  • Semifinal 1 Winner v Semifinal 2 Winner – Estadio de Bata: 9pm

Source: South African Football Association