Captain warns of need to focus in second leg
BAFANA Bafana captain and goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane has warned his teammates against complacency ahead of their second-leg 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Angola at Moses Mabhida Stadium tomorrow.
Bafana came back from the early setback of conceding after 90 seconds in the first leg to record a 3-1 victory over Palancas Negras at Ombaka National Stadium on Friday, taking a healthy lead into the return leg in Durban.
As was the case last year in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Bafana started their World Cup qualifying campaign with three goals away from home, but Mabokgwane said the job was not quite done yet.
“The game is not over and now we have to go and finish off the job. We cannot take them lightly,” Mabokgwane, who wore the armband for the third time after captaining the side in the Cosafa Cup earlier this year, said.
“They [Angola] have a good team. They play more on the counter and they are very skilful and they take a lot of shots. So we really need to guard against them getting into our half using counterattacks.”
Bafana bounced back through goals by Tokelo Rantie, Thamsanqa Gabuza and Andile Jali, who was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for telling the crowd to shut up in his celebrations. He will now miss the second leg.
Dean Furman could slot into that holding midfield role in Jali’s absence.
“I think we played well, but we conceded a goal we should not have conceded. We studied them . . . so we should have been much tighter to the guy, but we went to sleep.
“However, we showed character to come back because it’s not easy to play away from home and score three goals.”
Mabokgwane was happy with his performance as captain on the day and is hoping to get more opportunities to lead his country. The Mpumalanga Black Aces keeper started in place of injured Itumeleng Khune.
“I am happy with my individual performance. It was a great honour to captain my country and get a victory. It’s a great experience and it’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Going forward I will make sure I stamp my authority.”
The last time these countries met at Moses Mabhida in a 2013 Cup of Nations group stage clash, tournament hosts Bafana won 2-0 thanks to Siyabonga Sangweni and Lehlohonolo Majoro goals.
Anele Ngcongca, Thabo Matlaba, Tokelo Rantie, Wayne Sandilands and Furman are the surviving members from that team.
A win for Bafana tomorrow would send them into the group stages, the final phase of the qualifiers.