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Bafana smell Warriors blood

BAFANA Bafana coach Hugo Broos is looking to take full advantage of the Warriors’ struggles when the two nations clash in a Fifa World Cup Africa Group G qualifier.

The match is very important for South Africa, on 10 points, who are tussling for the sole ticket to the playoffs with Ghana who are single point behind with two matches to go.

Zimbabwe sit rock bottom with a single point and have been eliminated from the run, yet the match carries so much importance and weight particularly for interim coach Norman Mapeza, who is trying to convince everyone, particularly the Zika bosses, that he should get the job on a permanent basis.It has been a tough week for Mapeza after he saw his team lose 3-1 against Ghana in the first match on Saturday, despite putting in a spirited performance.

With everyone looking forward to seeing the Warriors pick it from there, the team couldn’t replicate what they displayed in Ghana at home. Broos has admitted that the match against Zimbabwe will still be a tough one despite what the log suggests.

“We are still number one on the log and we will see in the home game here against Zimbabwe, which is the most important game for us now. Let’s hope that we will be ready and fresher for that game,” he said.

“I know the situation as it is now, in one month we have to go again with a one-point lead and that means Ghana has to win their next match against Ethiopia. There is no other solution for them.

“But first of all, for us it is to deal with Zimbabwe and I hope that my colleague (Ethiopia coach Wubetu Abate) will give a little present next month by beating Ghana to make things easy for us.”

The Warriors, who are playing their home matches in front of an empty stadium, will confront a Bafana Bafana side that will be spurred by home support.

It would have been such a carnival event had the Warriors approached the match still in with a chance to qualify, with a lot of Zimbabweans living in South Africa, they would have rivalled the home side’s fans.

“With regards to the fans, we really hope that for the next game against Zimbabwe there will be more fans in the stands. This is because if you have a bad moment in the game and you have the fans behind you, they will back you and give you energy,” Broos said.

“In this game we had about 2 000 fans inside FNB Stadium and maybe by the time we take on Zimbabwe it will be 10 times more because that will definitely be fantastic for the players.”

Mapeza has promised to chop and change for the next match as he has shifted focus to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations.

“I’m happy because I saw what I wanted to see and when we are going for the last two matches then I know who to pick and who not to pick. The team showed some positives and we now have to work hard in the remaining two matches and try to build a team that can go and play at the Afcon tournament,” Mapeza, whose contract ends in December, said. — Sowetan/Kevin Mapasure.

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