SA National Development Team to lock horns with Zim

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The South African National Development Team will clash with the hosts of the Cosafa senior challenge in a semi-final match to be played in Harare on Wednesday.

The South Africans qualified for the tournament's last four after defeating Angola 2-nil on Monday.

The National Development Team's goals were scored by Lennox Bacela in the 67th minute and Oupa Manyisa in the 80th minute.

One of the joint coaches, Simon Ngomane, said: "It was a tough match, but we were well prepared to bring the team to a competitive level. We had to push our players when it seemed they were ready to give up after fighting too hard."

He added that he was proud of the players and that they should be proud too. "It was a team effort," he said.

Ngomane said that it was a very physical match which had left several players with knocks, but the technical team remained hopeful that the medical department would revive the concerned players ahead of the crucial clash against Zimbabwe.

The team had a light training session yesterday afternoon to help some players to recover as they will need everyone on board to face the home side that defeated Botswana in the last eight.

"Playing the hosts is tough because of the crowd, but also Zimbabwe is a tough side. Even though they were not tested against Botswana, they showed they have depth in midfield and their strikers could be deadly.

"But we have to apply pressure from the onset; they are good, but not unbeatable. I am comfortable we will come with a plan to offset their plans," he said.

As the defending champions of the tournament, the South Africans are aware they can lift the trophy once again but they are taking one match at a time.

"We have indicated that our policy is one match at a time, we want maximum focus on each match that we are playing.

"We started with Angola in the quarterfinals, now what is important is that we need to continue working as hard as we can and not put ourselves under pressure thinking of the final and winning the trophy," said Ngomane.

He added that they want to deal with the upcoming match and move on to the next assignment.

South Africa will face Zimbabwe at 3pm, while Zambia and Mozambique will also be contesting on the other semi-final match.