AFCON 2015: South Africa restructures for Senegal.
Bafana Bafana’s assistant coach Thabo Senong has hinted at a couple of changes when they name the team to play Senegal, in the crucial Afcon Group C match in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea today.
This is a make-or-break match for Bafana who are staring down the barrel – they have to win to stay in contention for the second round.
One of the changes was an enforced one due to Ricardo Coetzee’s injury sustained against Algeria in the opening match. Mulomowandawu Mathoho, who missed the opening match due to suspension, seemed to be the obvious replacement for Coetzee.
The Senegalese showed their aerial supremacy against Ghana, and Bafana Bafana will have to rely on Mathoho’s height and skills to repel this threat. Reneilwe Letsholonyane, a veteran of more than 50 caps, had also served his suspension and is available for selection.
Senong said the two players will strengthen the team.
“We believe that the 23 players we have add value to the team. Performance wise we are not happy because we did not get good results, but we are still going to continue with the core of the team maybe make two or three reinforcements in certain departments.”
Despite still being in a rebuilding phase for the next AFCON in 2017 and the World Cup a year later, Senong says it’s important to reach the second round of the Equatorial Guinea event.
Meanwhile, Thuso Phala, who scored Bafana Bafana’s only goal during the 3-1 loss to Algeria, says they have to be clinical against Senegal.
“I think if we had taken our chances we could have buried that game.It could have four of five in 60 minutes. So the biggest lesson we learnt from that game was to take our chances when we got them.”
Striker Mame Diof, who plays for Stoke City in the English Premier League, is the danger man in the Senegal team. However, the Senegalese look suspect at the back especially against speedy attackers.