Bafana set to return to action, but they may not need a bio-bubble

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Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki will soon announce the team that will resume play in October. Picture: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix
Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki will soon announce the team that will resume play in October. Picture: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Safa is not anticipating that players will have to report for national duty under a biologically safe environment(bio-bubble) format similar to the one the PSL has implemented to complete the delayed club football season.

Bafana Bafana are expected back in action in October after CAF and Fifa this week confirmed the revised dates of the international football calendar.

Already, coach Molefi Ntseki has proposed two friendly matches for the next Fifa international week from October 5 to 13, to prepare Bafana for the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against São Tomé and Príncipe in November.

We are hoping that the bio-bubble may not be required because quite a lot of government’s regulations have been relaxed.
Safa chief executive Tebogo Motlanthe

The continental qualification campaign was suspended in March due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, which also saw the final tournament to be staged in Cameroon being moved from next year to January 2022.

“We are hoping that the bio-bubble may not be required because quite a lot of government’s [Covid-19 lockdown] regulations have been relaxed, but we’ll still observe all the health protocols,” said Safa chief executive Tebogo Motlanthe.

He said that, in the event that the international travel ban was still in place later in the year, Safa would request a postponement from CAF.

The pandemic has patterns of changing [and] we are not resting on our laurels.
Motlanthe

However, he said the association was following the advice of CAF medical experts, who say that it will be fine to start playing in October.

“The pandemic has patterns of changing [and] we are not resting on our laurels. We have asked our doctor to check. If the borders are still closed by then, we’ll go back to CAF if we face problems with players travelling and ask for further postponement.

“We have asked the coach to include in his plans, in consultation with our chief medical officer [Thulani Ngwenya], Covid-related precautions [for the training camp].”

In terms of the type of opponents Bafana will face, Motlanthe said a press conference would be called for Ntseki, together with Safa’s newly appointed technical director, Frans Mogashoa, and other national team coaches to share their preparation plans.

The Safa accounting officer, however, revealed that one of the planned warm-up matches for Bafana would be a Nelson Mandela Challenge match.

Fifa weeks are non-negotiable.
Motlanthe

Safa said it had shared the revised international dates with its special member, the PSL, which is set to kick off its 2020/21 campaign on October 9.

Motlhanthe said in terms of the release of players by clubs for national duty, “Fifa weeks are non-negotiable”.

Other national teams that are expected to resume play are Banyana Banyana, and the men’s Under-17 and Under-20 teams.

The women’s Under-17s will restart their World Cup qualifiers in November, when coach Simphiwe Dludlu’s side will face Morocco in the second round. The aggregate winner will qualify for the global spectacle in India next year.


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Daniel Mothowagae 

Deputy sports editor

+27 11 713 9001
Daniel.Mothowagae@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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