Bafana expect a football-friendly chill in Sfax for huge game against Libya

23 March 2019 - 12:33 By Marc Strydom
Kamohelo Mokotjo. File photo
Kamohelo Mokotjo. File photo
Image: VI Images via Getty Images

Bafana Bafana have been kept guessing by varying weather patterns – from hot‚ to windy‚ to heavy rain – to contend with in Tunisia‚ but seem destined to welcome cool conditions for Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya.

Bafana need a draw from the final Group E qualifier at Stade Taieb Mhiri in Sfax‚ and Libya a win‚ to reach Egypt 2019.

The South Africans extended their stay in Tunis‚ 270-kilometres from Sfax – where they had camped since their arrival in Tunisia on Sunday – by a day from Thursday to Friday.

This was because Bafana had been under the impression they could have two training sessions at the match venue‚ but instead were ultimately only allowed one – on Saturday – so delayed their three-and-a-half-hour bust trip to the coastal city to Friday.

Even in Tunis‚ South Africa apparently had to utilise various training grounds.

They have also experienced varying weather conditions in Tunisia‚ coach Stuart Baxter has said‚ from hot on their arrival in the North African winter to windy‚ to rainy.

The forecast for Sunday in Sfax is for dry‚ partly cloudy conditions and 18 degrees Celsius in the day‚ though in the evening‚ when they play at 6pm Tunisian time (7pm in SA)‚ that could drop to a football-friendly 10 degrees C.

“We’ve given the players a few things to think about going into this game‚ both mentally and tactically‚” Baxter said of Bafana’s training sessions this week.

“And it’s natural for them to take a bit of time to absorb it.

“But we’ve had some well-disciplined trainings‚ where people were thinking about their game.”

The coach said the various training fields and conditions under foot almost resulted in an injury casualty to key central midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo.

“We had at one stage Kamo Mokotjo who’s had a little bit of an Achilles problem‚” Baxter said.

“And the different pitches‚ both here and the difference to the one he’s playing on in England have given him a bit of a problem.

“But the doc [Thulani Ngwenya] sorted that out and he’s OK‚ and been back in full training.”

Keagan Dolly‚ brought into the squad for assessment having barely played in 2018-19 for Montpellier‚ will not be available as he has very tight in hamstring. Amiens SC’s Bongani Zungu‚ selected under the same circumstances‚ “has looked better and better”‚ Baxter said‚ though the coach was also unsure if the midfielder would make the match squad.

Rivaldo Coetzee and Ronwen Williams have recovered from knocks that they came into camp with. 

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