Bafana’s withdrawal-hit squad have remained hungry‚ says Bvuma

18 August 2017 - 09:41 By Marc Strydom
Bafana assistant coach Thabo Senong.
Bafana assistant coach Thabo Senong.

Bvuma was in goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Chipolopolo in East London for a team whose name as Bafana has become something of a mockery as almost all the frontline players from PSL clubs have not been made available given a clash with the start of the domestic season.

He travels on Thursday with a squad hit by a further 10 withdrawals‚ adding to 10 last week‚ to Ndola for Saturday’s second leg in Ndola.

If there is one positive South Africa can take from the selection chaos that has arisen from qualifiers not scheduled on Fifa international dates it is the depth it has displayed in the country’s football‚ but which still have a status that demands that international caps be handed out.

A squad comprised of some promising Under-20 internationals who have been spared by their PSL clubs‚ and older players who‚ most of whom‚ could not even be called fringe Bafana material‚ negotiated their way past Botswana’s best 3-0 on aggregate in the second round.

They were 2-0 up‚ but conceded twice for a draw‚ in the first leg against most of the best of Zambia’s local talent in this tie.

And Bvuma says a team who will be coached in Zambia by Bafana assistant Thabo Senong remain hungry to try to reach the Chan‚ despite this state of chaos.

“After the game coach Stuart gave us a team talk to motivate us and said‚ ‘You know what‚ you gave your best. It wasn’t to be’.

“Losing players is just one of those things. You can’t blame the teams for taking their players back because they have to start their preparations for the season.

“It would have been easy for us to give up. But we haven't. There's a lot of hunger – we’re working hard.

“We know we’re representing not just the families but the country.”

Senong takes charge of the Chan team as Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter remains in South Africa to finalise his senior squad for crucial away and home 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Cape Verde Islands on September 1 and 5.

The squad will be announced on Monday‚ and Baxter has opted to view the full round of opening PSL fixtures this weekend before finalising the players he will call up.

Bvuma said Senong can do the job on the bench in Zambia.

“For me‚ I believe that he’s capable of doing the work‚” the Kaizer Chiefs keeper said.

“He’s been with the national team‚ knows the culture from the SA Under-20s. He went to Rio with the U23s for the Olympics. We all believe in him.”