5 June 2012

South Africa/Botswana: Spirit High At Bafana Camp, Despite Sacking of Head Coach

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix
Mogogi Gabonamong of Botswana (18) and Andre Ayew of Ghana (10) contest the ball.

Pretoria — Despite the dramatic sacking of their head coach, the team spirit at the Bafana Bafana camp is high and players are working very hard in preparation for their second 2014 World Cup qualifier against Botswana on Saturday.

Bafana media officer Matlhomola Morake said despite concern from the players, they understood that such things happened in football.

"They have re-grouped and things are unfolding very well. The players are working very hard in preparation for the match against Botswana and they have committed themselves to work with their caretaker coach."

According to Morake, Bafana left back Tshepo Masilela was released from the camp after he sustained a knee injury during the opening 2014 World Cup against Ethiopia at the Royal Bafokeng stadium, on Sunday.

Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane was fired by Safa on Monday evening following the national team's string of poor performances.

Safa Vice President Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana and the association's CEO Robin Petersen had to travel to the Royal Marang Sports Complex where the team is camping to hold an urgent meeting with Mosimane to discuss the matter.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts are drawn in an easy and winnable group A of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Bafana are drawn with underdogs neighbouring Botswana, Central African Republic and Ethiopia. The group is currently led by Central African Republic with three points following their 2-0 win over Botswana, while Bafana are in third position with only point.

Shortly after his appointment, Mosimane claimed his four-year vision was to prepare and build a strong, competitive and respectable team for the country in preparation for 2012 and 2014.

He further said his short term goal was to take Bafana to the 2012 African Cup of Nations, which will be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea - a goal he did not realise.

"I am not scared. We should be there and I believe that if we can keep our World Cup momentum on the field like we played against Mexico and France, we will win this tournament," he said at the time.

However, Bafana, who played a goalless draw against Sierra Leone at Mbombela stadium last October, finished top of Group G on goal difference, followed by the Leone Stars and Niger all tied on nine points.

After the match, Bafana players, their technical staff and supporters danced and hugged, but their happiness was short-lived when it was announced that according to the CAF rules, Bafana had failed to qualify for the 2012 Afcon finals.

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