South Africa captain confident of 2019 AFCON qualification
Andile Jali, Thulani Hlatshwayoand Erick Mathoho during the South Africa Senior Men Team Morning © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 13:30
South Africa captain Thulani Hlatshwayo has expressed confidence that his side will qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Bafana Bafana endured a torrid 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and finished bottom of Group D behind Senegal, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde.
Yet the team made a strong start to their 2019 AFCON preliminary group, defeating Nigeria 2-0 in Uyo back in June to put themselves in a strong position to finish in the top two of Group E, which also features Libya and Seychelles.
Hlatshwayo says Bafana will bounce back from their 2018 failure: “We know how disappointed the country is about the results and we as players take the blame,” he is quoted by Kick-Off.
“As the captain I take the blame. Unfortunately I could not play play those two games [against Senegal]. I am not saying if I was there I would have made a difference because the guys who played did well against Burkina Faso.
“We would like to urge the country to support because we don’t go into a game to lose. We are there representing our families and our communities.”
The burly central defender added, “We did well against Nigeria away from home, so that’s where we have to make sure we bring smiles to South Africans. We have to make sure we qualify for AFCON.”
He also gave his backing to coach Stuart Baxter, who has been a part of two failed World Cup qualification campaigns after also being at the helm of the team when they were unable to reach the 2006 finals.
“Yes, I have confidence in Stuart Baxter. He is our coach right now and we have to give him our all,” explained the defender.