Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba says Senzo Meyiwa was his obvious choice to wear the captain’s armband in the absence of Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who is ruled out with an injury.
Belgium based defender Anele Ngcongca was tipped for the captaincy, but Mashaba has chosen to go with Meyiwa as his captain for the first 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan in Omdurman today (7pm SA time).
“It needed no rocket scientist to see that Senzo deserves this position. He has done well right through the season and in the absence of Itumeleng Khune, we looked at all the boys that we have and we realised that Senzo has achieved a lot and he deserves the nod to be the captain of the team," Mashaba said.
Bafana had their first training session on the El Merreikh Stadium pitch on Thursday night, the venue for today’s group A qualifier.
“Things went well. Our main thing was to address marking. We don’t want to let them run loose on the pitch. You can’t play without winning the ball. You have to have the ball possession first and then you start playing.
“We have always worked on finishing and that went well,” the coach said yesterday.
Mashaba believes Sudan are going to try play long balls into the area to unsettle the visitors, but says he has a plan to deal with this.
“It’s going to be a tough game. They will be throwing everything at us. They will be trying to play long balls into our box and they will have players running into our box. We have addressed that and our players know that they must pick up the runners because if we allow them to do that, then they will punish us.”
The pitch looked quite bumpy when Bafana trained on it, but Mashaba is not too concerned.
“It’s not a bad pitch. Fortunately we were training on it and I can tell you that it is not too bumpy. It’s playable.”
This is the first meeting between Bafana Bafana and Sudan, who are ranked 115th in the world and 36th in Africa.