Bafana coach Ntseki and charges face moment of truth in Sudan

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki during a media briefing at Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg on March 22 2021.
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki during a media briefing at Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg on March 22 2021.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki and his charges face their moment of truth when they step onto the Al Hilal Stadium pitch to face Sudan in a decisive Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in the north-eastern African nation's capital of Khartoum on Sunday afternoon.

A ticket to the continental showpiece in Cameroon next year awaits the second-placed Bafana if they are able to secure a win or a draw and captain Thulani Hlatshwayo is well aware that a lot will be at stake in the Sudanese capital.

“We as the players are the ones who are going to be doing the job on the pitch and we know how important it [the qualifier against Sudan] is‚” he said.

"[Today] is the decider‚ the last game of the group and the winner qualifies for the Afcon that is coming up in Cameroon [next year].”

It will certainly not be an easy day at the office for the visitors as the third-placed Sudanese have hit form at the right time to surge to nine points following a win at home against Ghana and away at Sao Tome and Principe on Wednesday‚ in a result that gave Ntseki some serious headaches.

But a confident Hlatshwayo said they have been given a mandate to secure qualification to Cameroon and he insisted that they intend to honour it after the dust has settled at the Al Hilal Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

“As a team we have a mandate internally and our mandate is to make sure that we qualify for Afcon. [Today] we will [win] and obviously as a country‚ as a team‚ as players‚ as everyone and as South Africans who are supporting us‚ expect us to win [today]. For us as players‚ as I mentioned before‚ we have a mandate and that mandate is to qualify.”

Bafana‚ who have 10 points from five games and are level with leaders Ghana‚ arrived in Khartoum on Friday afternoon and completed their preparations for this crunch encounter at the match venue on Saturday night.

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