Bafana's opening match crucial to set tone

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pretoria - Bafana Bafana midfielder, Siphiwe Tshabalala, described their opening match of the upcoming Orange CAF African Nations (South Africa CHAN 2014) against Mozambique as very important in terms of setting the tone for the tournament.

“Every match we play is important but the first game is very crucial because it is always good to start the tournament on a high. A win sets a very nice tone for the rest of the competition. It is good for the team’s morale and for the fans,” he said.

The dreadlocked left-footed player was speaking to the media shortly after the national team’s training session in Pinelands, Cape Town.

Bafana Bafana will face Mozambique in the opening match of the tournament on Saturday, 11 at Cape Town Stadium – the venue for the opening and closing ceremony. Kick-off is at 6pm.

The Kaizer Chiefs midfielder is most capped player in the squad with 85 caps to his belt. He has played in the World Cup, the Confederations Cup as well as an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). This will be his first CHAN tournament.

“The stakes and the expectations are high for us to do well. I believe we are ready after days of hard work and will continue doing so in the remaining two days. I am positive that the 11 players that will be selected to do the job on Saturday will succeed.

“As for me, it is always an honour to wear the national team jersey. I am grateful that I have been given another chance to represent my country and I have always vowed that I will do my best whenever I am selected. This is a very important tournament and it would be nice to win it, but we have to take one game at a time,” he said.

Striker, Katlego Mashego, echoed his sentiments. “We want to do well in every game we play. We are raring to go. We know what we have to do and we are well aware how important the first match is. We have to start with a bang,” said Mashego.