Booth banking on Mashaba

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Cape Town - Former South Africa international Matthew Booth believes the onus will now be on national coach Shakes Mashaba to uplift his players ahead of their fixture against the highly competent Senegal on Friday.

South Africa, who are competing in the so-called 'group of death' at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, sit bottom of their standings following the 3-1 defeat against Algeria on Monday.

Bafana Bafana had a glorious opportunity to collect a point, at the very least, against the Fennec Foxes during their opening Group C match, but failed to close the match out after taking the lead.

Indications are that this campaign is only going to get harder for Mashaba's men and the key to the squad emerging from this group unscathed will be mental strength.

"They need to be psychologically strong now heading to the Senegal and Ghana games - Algeria knew they would take the three points," Booth told AfricanFootball.

"But to let them slip easily like that was bad for us, however, the coach Shakes Mashaba must lift up the spirits of the guys.

"We were shaky in the first 10-20 mins but defended well, we ultimately kept them on the back foot and I think we should’ve wrapped it there," added Booth.

During the match against Algeria, Dean Furman, Tokelo Rantie and Sibusiso Vilakazi all had chances to seal the result but Furman’s strike hit the crossbar, Rantie missed his penalty and Vilakazi took one too many touches before unleashing an attempt at goal.

It was indeed an evening filled with regret and one that could have a detrimental impact on the team’s psychology.

"We need to stick our chances into the net, we had plenty of them and with the penalty miss, it can happen to anyone but if (Tokelo) Rantie scored - we’d be singing a different tune," added Booth.

"We now need to work harder and ensure we get a win against Senegal because the tournament is different from the qualifiers where you have a second chance. I’m confident of a positive comeback as we played better, we surprised the Algerians - we just need to bury our chances, that’s all."
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