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Football | Bafana Bafana

Siphiwe Tshabalala © Backpagepix

Bafana must make up for Afcon failure



After Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), playmaker Siphiwe Tshabalala says his side will be determined to make amends by making it to the World Cup in 2014.

“It was a big blow for us not to qualify for [Afcon], but we're over that because there's nothing we can do about it except to move on,” Tshabalala said at the Bafana training camp in Rustenurg.

The squad assembled in the North West province on Wednesday ahead of two crucial World Cup qualifiers – against Ethiopia in Rustenburg on June 3 and Botswana in Gaborone on June 9.

“We have an advantage playing at home [against Ethiopia], so for us it's a must win,” Tshabalala said.

The 27-year-old Kaizer Chiefs midfielder said the national team was always under pressure, but they had managed to deal with it in the past.

“We did well in the [2010] World Cup," Tshabalala said.

"There was a lot of expectation and pressure but we managed to overcome that. We're not new to this situation.

“It's one game at a time now for us and we'll see how it goes. It starts now against Ethiopia, and then Botswana.

"The journey is long but we'll overcome the obstacles.”

Tshabalala, who netted the opening goal of the global showpiece in South Africa in 2010, admitted it was a concern that they were struggling to find the back of the net.

Bafana have scored three goals in their last six matches.

“It's a worrying factor that we're not scoring goals. I think we all know goals win games,” he said.

“On the playing perspective the team is doing well, it's just that the finishing part, putting the ball in the net, that's where we have a problem.”

The squad is combined with a mix of experience and youth and Tshabalala was confident in his teammates as they started their run to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“I'm happy that we have players with experience – the likes of Siyabonga Nomvethe," he said.

"And then we have [Tokelo] Rantie who is there, and we still have Katlego Mphela and I think the guys will do the job for us.”

The camp will be fully assembled on Sunday when six more players are expected to link up with the squad, from SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns, after the Nedbank Cup final.

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