It’s win or bust for the Under-23s

2011-12-01 07:11

Marrakech – It is a win or bust for Shakes Mashaba’s national Under-23 team in the CAF Under-23 Championship in Morocco.

After playing two successive draws against Ivory Coast and Gabon, the Baby Bafana are staring at the exit door and must now beat Egypt at all cost to qualify for the semifinal of the tournament and have one leg in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The top three teams will automatically qualify for next year’s tournament while the fourth one will engage in a play-off against an Asia representative.

Mashaba’s team is third on the log with two points from two games while Ivory Coast leads the group with four points after beating Egypt 1-0.

The North African side is on the second spot with the three points they got against bottom of the group Gabon in the opening game.

But Mashaba’s team has themselves to blame for the situation its finds itself in after squandering chances of gaining maximum points in their opening two games.

Against Ivory Coast they conceded an equaliser in the 83rd minute and it was the same story against Gabon who levelled matters in the 80th minute.

But a win over Egypt will guarantee the team a place in the semifinals, irrespective of the outcome of the other Group B match between Ivory Coast and Gabon.

But it should have never got to this situation in the first place as the team had ample chances of collecting the six points in the two games but was let down by poor finishing.

Mashaba will welcome back defender Eric Mathoho who missed the Gabon game through injury and Thamsanqa Sangweni, after serving his one match suspension.

But the team should play a lot better than it did against the two West African countries if it hopes to live its Olympic dream.

Egypt will not be an easy game as the North Africans also rely on this game to proceed to the semis. 

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