Mosimane: The young team has great potential for 2010

2008-02-02 00:00

BAFANA Bafana assistant coach Pitso Mosimane perhaps best summed up the team’s first-round exit at the Ghana 2008 African Cup of Nations, which, though disappointing, was one in which a young team played some exciting football and showed potential for the future.

Mosimane said that while there are problems to be ironed out, the positives of South Africa’s 1-1 draw against Angola, 3-1 defeat against Tunisia and 1-1 draw against Senegal include the emergence of some bright new stars for the national team who should feature at the 2010 World Cup.

Bafana still have the Confederations Cup on home soil in June next year and the 2010 Nations Cup in Angola to utilise the experience gained here in Ghana and perform more convincingly on an international stage.

“Look, I think there are positives we got and I think there are challenges we found as well,” Mosimane said.

“Just to name a few of the positives: everybody has seen that we have discovered the full-backs, which is Bryce Moon at right-back and Tsepo Masilela on the left, and I think they did very well.

“In the last game [against Senegal], we gave a chance to


Dikgacoi against Papa Bouba Diop and he came out well physically as well as technically.

“And obviously Elrio [Van Heerden] has stamped his authority to say that maybe I deserve to be in the starting line-up.

“And obviously the challenges — last pass. In tonight’s game, when we were passed we were supposed to shoot and shot when we were supposed to pass.

“But I think the best part that came out of the game was that this team never played together in the qualifiers. They were assembled just for the Nations Cup, and if we keep the team they will gain more experience.

“Because the goals conceded were from mistakes and giveaways, like the qualifier against Zambia, I don’t think we will have a problem qualifying for the 2010 Nations Cup in the qualifiers that start in May/June.”

Bafana have been grouped in the Angola 2010 qualifiers with arch-nemesis Nigeria.

Midfielder Steven Pienaar, who had an excellent tournament before being ruled out by injury for the final game against Senegal, said: “There is potential for the future. You can see we still lack some experience, but we are preparing for the bigger stage, and that is the next Nations Cup, and obviously the World Cup.

“If you look at the way we are playing, it is not disappointing. You can at least take the good points out of it. We are just lacking in scoring. It’s a big thing.”

Ghana 2008 was the 25-year-old Everton midfielder’s first Nations Cup.

“I missed two previously with injuries, so being here was something special. All the players have their own dreams and to play in the biggest competition in Africa is one of those,” Pienaar said.

Ghana might have been the last Nations Cup for veteran striker Sibusiso Zuma.

“I think the coach is doing a great job,” the Arminia Bielefeld striker said. “We just need to keep these young boys together until 2010.

“I’m sure the boys are going to be ready for the World Cup. We have a very good team of young boys who want to play.”

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