By FOCUS REPORTER
THE South African National Under 23 team has completed its preparations ahead of their second leg All Africa Games qualifier against Zimbabwe.
The young Bafana Bafanaface the home side tomorrow at the National Olympic Stadium in Harare. Kickoff is at 3pm.
Head coach Shakes Mashaba’s side is taking a two-nil lead from the first leg played two weeks ago in Johannesburg, and will be hoping to continue from where they left off.
“The technical team is satisfied with the preparations up to this point, we have done everything we could. All that is left is for us to get onto the pitch and do the business. We have come here with a lot of purpose and positivity even though we are well aware it will not be an easy match. Playing away from home is never a walk in the park, but because of our lead from the first leg we have one foot in the AAG tournament so we just need to be cautious but play to win. The mental strength and character of the players will be tested, but we have prepared them well for that,” said Mashaba.
The head coach has also been impressed by the high team spirit that is prevailing, and believes that alone is reason enough to be confident.
“The team is looking very good, the players are buzzing with excitement. A happy player always does his best on the field, but must at the same time guard against being over-confident. I am encouraged that the boys seem eager to get this match underway. They really understand the importance of this encounter, so we will do everything in our power to return home victorious,” added Shakes.
He also took time to congratulate Banyana Banyana for reaching the finals after a fine performance in the Council of the Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) Women’s Championship which is currently underway in Zimbabwe.
Banyana Banyana are the defending champions in the tournament, and will take on hosts Zimbabwe in the final today at the Rufaro Stadium at 3.15pm