Bafana Bafana were left high and dry by Angola on Wednesday, which has denied coach Stuart Baxter a crucial final practice match ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Bafana team manager Barney Kujane expressed his frustration with Angolan officials, who he said had agreed to play the game on Wednesday at Cairo’s Aero Sports Centre.
Kujane added that a meeting was even held on Tuesday to work out the rules for the unofficial clash, but then called late in the evening to call it off as they “were struggling to get any training since arriving in Egypt”.
“We are disappointed and frustrated. We had arranged this match three weeks ago, and Angola confirmed everything in writing,” Kujane told the SA Football Association website.
“We even had a meeting with their technical staff at our hotel yesterday, (Tuesday, 18 June 2019) afternoon in which both teams reconfirmed the match and agreed on the rules of the practice game.”
The cancellation resulted in Bafana playing a practice game amongst themselves on Wednesday afternoon in Cairo.
The Bafana Bafana Twitter account stated that striker Lars Veldwijk had scored a hat trick in the match, but of course, playing against your teammates would never be the same as taking on another country.
Baxter would’ve welcomed putting his players through another test before Monday’s Africa Cup of Nations opener against the Ivory Coast on Monday (4.30pm SA time kickoff).
Lars Veldwijk has just scored a scintillating hat-trick in a practice game played between two Bafana teams.— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) June 19, 2019
His first two were impressive volleys and the third was from the spot.
Is looking good! pic.twitter.com/5gf5F0JhLH
Meanwhile, midfielder Dean Furman said that while the team didn’t want to adopt the “favourites” tag in Group D, they were hoping to “achieve big things” in Egypt.
After the Ivory Coast clash, the South Africans will face Namibia (Friday 28 June, 10pm) and Morocco (Monday 1 July, 6pm).
“We have taken most of those learnings into our training sessions and hopefully when Ivory Coast comes, we are more than ready and confident,” he told the Safa website.
“We believe this is a strong team, and we are coming into this tournament with a lot of confidence based on our qualification campaign where we were undefeated, and not forgetting our victory in Nigeria, our performance against them at home and our crucial victory against Libya away.
Warming down after the practice match pic.twitter.com/BJu6wMgqRE— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) June 19, 2019
“I don’t think we are favourites. There are certain traditional powerhouses of African football but we are happy with where we are. We know we have quality in this team.
“We are in a strong group involving Morocco and Ivory Coast, and not discarding a strong Namibia side.
“So, we are not concerned about what people say about the favourite tag, we just know that if we perform to our potential, we can achieve big things in this tournament.”@ashfakmohamed