Bafana Bafana will top their group, says confident Ronwen Williams
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JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams says their ambitions of finishing top of Group C in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers remain very much intact, and that's why they have to ensure that they win their remaining home game.
Bafana have had a decent outing in the Afcon qualifiers.
They are second in their group with nine points, level with leaders Ghana and three ahead of Sudan thanks to three wins which came at the expense of Sao Tome and Principe and the Falcons of Jediane.
Two of those wins came at home, losing one away match to Ghana in the opening game of their group stage campaign. They will, however, host the Black Stars tomorrow at FNB Stadium hoping to avenge that loss and maintain a perfect home record.
That win might as well be what Bafana need in order to book their spot at the continental showpiece in Cameroon next year as they will go three points clear at the top of the group - ahead of their final qualifier away to Sudan on Sunday.
“Just to add to what the skipper (Thulani Hlatshwayo) said, we know what's at stake,” Williams said.
“At the beginning of this journey, the coach asked us what we want to achieve and we said we want to be number one in the group. And so far, so good with that challenge.
“We also said that we want to win all our home games. And so far, so good in that regard because we won the last two. We know what to do: we want to keep that momentum going. And going to the Ghana game, we want to keep that record going.”
GETTING READY FOR GHANA: Bafana Bafana moved their training to FNB Stadium on Tuesday where they went through some rigorous excercises ahead of Thursday's crucial AFCON qualifier against the Black Stars at Soccer City.— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) March 23, 2021
Kick off 18h00 pic.twitter.com/Zuu54KTIyA
Bafana's preparations for the Ghana match suffered a major blow though. Four of their nine overseas-based players – Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly,
Dean Furman and Thulani Serero – were denied permission to report for duty by their clubs who cited Covid-19 issues. Safa, with the assistance of their chief medical officer Thulani Ngwenya and chief executive Tebogo Motlanthe, are working tirelessly with the four respective clubs to, at least, release the players for the Sudan game.
“We are disappointed because we all started this journey together. But we've lost some of our soldiers now.
But the players that have come in have to step up now.
“It's not going to be easy because we've had a short time to prepare,” Williams said.
On Monday, coach Molefi Ntseki and his technical team bolstered the squad with five new faces. Strikers Lebohang Maboe and Thabiso Kutumela were called up as replacements of the injured Bradley Grobler and Kermit Erasmus.
Thabo Nodada, Vincent Pule and Mothobi Mvala were called up to widen the selection pool. The new addition has brought a strong composition of locally-based players. But Williams is confident that they will still achieve their mandate, regardless.
“The preparations started a long time ago because the technical team was preparing for this camp. They sent us information way before the camp. So, we already knew the game plan and how Ghana and Sudan play,” Williams said.