Komphela seeks support for Bafana

2012-06-05 13:00

Interim Bafana Bafana coach Steve Komphela has asked for patience and support for the team as they resume their 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign.

“The players we have in camp, who are soldiers, need support,” Komphela said today.

“We have to accept and support. It’s the only way.”

Komphela, the Free State Stars mentor and former Bafana captain, will guide South Africa in their next two matches after the SA Football Association announced earlier today that former head coach Pitso Mosimane had been sacked with two years left in his contract.

Bafana play Botswana in a World Cup qualifier in Gaborone on Saturday and they face Gabon in an international friendly later this month.

They drew 1-1 against Ethiopia in Phokeng on Sunday – a result that led to Mosimane’s departure after seven straight matches without a win.

He had been on thin ice – certainly with the public – after the national side failed to qualify for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Komphela and assistant coach Jaero Leal now face the challenge of lifting the squad for the crucial fixture against Botswana.

He admitted that the latest coaching development could either make or break the team in the coming weeks.

“The biggest challenge this morning [Tuesday] was to get everybody in the right state of mind,” said Komphela, who had been called up to assist Mosimane in April.

“From what we are feeling today ... it will get better.

“We have to get the attitude right and try and win against Botswana. I’m hoping for the ‘bounce back’ factor.
“Reaction could be positive or negative, but I have seen positive indications.”

Komphela paid credit to Mosimane for the work he had done in his 23 months in charge since taking over from Carlos Alberto Parreira in July 2010.

“He [Mosimane] did a helluva lot of good work, but that is football,” Komphela said.

“Yes, we didn’t get a result at the weekend [against Ethiopia], and didn’t take chances, but we played well.”

Bafana have faced criticism for their poor form upfront after failing to win any of their last seven matches.

“At the end of the day it’s about the individual’s confidence, and we have to build it,” Komphela said.

“We have been working on finishing since last week, but training is the best teacher.” Defender Tsepo Masilela, meanwhile, was ruled out today with a hamstring injury, while striker Katlego Mphela was nursing his knee. Thulani Serero, however, returned after taking compassionate leave at the weekend. Masilela will not be replaced in the squad, with Punch Masenamela in camp as his understudy. Siboniso Gaxa could also fill in, while new cap and left winger, Mzikayise Mashaba, could fill the void if necessary.

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