Bafana aim to end East London hoodoo against Chipolopolo
Bafana Bafana will be hoping break a winless run in East London when they meet Zambia in a Chan qualifier at Buffalo City Stadium on Saturday.
The senior national team will be playing in East London (kickoff‚ 3pm) for the third time and have not won in the previous two‚ a defeat against Zimbabwe in the Cosafa Cup in 2003 and draw in an international friendly against Angola in March.
Zimbabwe edged Bafana 1-0 while Palancas Negras held Bafana to a goalless draw.
The South Africans meet Chipolopolo in the third qualifying round of the Chan (African Nations Championship)‚ Caf's low-key tournament for local-based players. The second leg of this tie in the final stage of qualification is in Zambia next weekend.
Making Saturday's encounter more difficult is the fact that coach Stuart Baxter and his technical team had to deal with clubs withdrawing at least 10 players from national duty.
Baxter this week described the preparations for this game as one of the most challenging of his coaching career. He said that the game against Chipolopolo will not be a walk in the park‚ as they have brought a strong team to South Africa.
Bafana's captain for these Chan qualifiers‚ Mario Booysen‚ said the team will give 100% on the field.
“The fact is that we all have a responsibility to do our duty and perform for the national team‚ because when all is said and done‚ you really look forward to this moment in your career of representing your country‚" the Mamelodi Sundowns centreback said.
“We don’t see any negatives but only positivity‚ so we have to get a good result." Players on the fringe like Booysen's Downs teammate Asavela Mbekile will be eager to put up good performances in national team colours.