It’s a win or bust for Bafana and Ghana

2015-01-23 09:07

South Africa and Ghana could be the first casualties of this year’s edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. The two countries are on the verge of becoming the first teams to be eliminated from the tournament after two games.

The other three groups will only be decided by their last games.

After losing their opening games on Monday, Ghana and South Africa need to beat Algeria and Senegal, respectively, this evening. Ghana lost 2-1 to Senegal while Bafana went 3-1 down to Algeria.

Failure to get maximum points could mean the end for both sides and render their meeting on Tuesday as a dead rubber as they would be out already.

Even draws might not be enough because it would leave Algeria and Senegal on four points with a game to go, meaning a draw would be enough to see the two sides through.

A win for both Ghana and South Africa would make the final group matches interesting because it would leave all the four teams on three points, with single victories each, going into the last games on Tuesday.

Group C, which was termed the group of death, was the only one with results in the opening round because other groups had one or two draws.

However, Bafana have promised to fight with everything they have to get maximum points against the high-riding West Africans.

They have vowed to bounce back from their Algeria defeat. Bafana Bafana assistant coach Thabo Senong said they might make two or three tactical changes tonight.

“We know what to do against Senegal because it is a ‘must win’ for us and that is what we are going for,” said Senong.

He said they were not intimidated by the physically imposing Senegalese.

“Obviously it is not going to be easy because they are more experienced but we are ready. Our only concern is for our players to take their chances in front of goals because that was our downfall against Algeria. At times we showed signs of anxiety and lack of confidence and dropped our heads after missing the penalty. In modern football the only way of defending is to keep ball possession but we are confident of a victory.

“They are not an easy side to beat and they have very good attackers but they are slow at the back and this is where we need to punish them because we have the ability to get behind them with our quick players. But we need to take our chances in front of goals.”

He said although they were still on a rebuilding phase, it was important to build a winning team.

“It was a learning experience to most of the players who have never played in a big stage. Decision-making is still a problem and the sooner our players know when to shoot and when to hold on the ball, the better for the team. Sometimes our strength becomes our weakness because we hold on to the ball far too long but with time they will learn.”

He said their aim was to at least reach the last four of the tournament and said it was not over yet for the team.

“While you build it is essential you do so on the back of good results. For us, performing well in this tournament is to move from the second round to the third round and building a winning team. We didn’t bring under-20 or under-23 players and that shows we want to do well by bringing senior players who were there in the past tournament.”

With experienced players like Moussa Sow, Mame Diouf and Papiss Cissé, Senegal have some of the most lethal strikers in the tournament and Bafana will need to be ever-alert to match them.

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