Bafana Chronicles- Congo Brazaville
Written by: Mbali Mokoko
Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim shakes Mashaba is a confident man ahead of his team’s travel to Congo Brazzaville for their next assignment in their quest to qualify for the 2015 African Nation’s Cup in Morocco. The senior men’s national team are currently in camp at the Royal Marang Sports Complex in Rustenburg preparing for a match on 11 October in Point Noire. Twenty two of the twenty six players that have been called up had reported for camp by 6 October with overseas-based players such as Thulani serero and Tokello Rantie expected late.
Although, he believes his boys will come out on top, Mashaba is preparing his charges for a tough and physical encounter against the Congolese. Bafana depart for Congo on 9 October at 1pm on a chartered flight, and are expected to arrive in the Central African nation at about 5pm. Bra Shakes says he avoided showing the players footage of Bafana’s last outing to the Congolese city of Point Noire. For those who can remember, it was in the Congolese capital city of Brazzaville that Bafana Bafana was beaten during a World Cup Qualifier in 1996. Many of our players came back to South Africa with bruises. Mark Fish in particular took a bad blow to the head and had to continue playing with a thick blood soaked bandage wrapped around his head. I don’t expect our team to be welcomed with open arms like we South Africans usually are. I expect a hostile crowd and intimidation tactics from the army.
Congo is currently on top of the group with maximum points after two outings, followed by South Africa who are two points behind the pace setters. Mashaba also took time to wish Banyana Banyana well as they jetted off to Namibia on 6 October to battle in the African Women’s Championships. Banyana will look for a top three finish to qualify for the World Cup in Canada next year.