In The Bafana Camp With Khumalo…
In The Bafana Camp With Khumalo…
This week’s DoRego’s revolving blog features Bafana Bafana captain, Bongani Khumalo.
Soccer-Laduma caught up with Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo, who discusses the disappointment of the opening game and how things are shaping up for game two and three of their Afcon campaign.
In the bus ride to the stadium for the opener the guys were upbeat. Obviously it’s a huge part of the South African game where we sing and come together before games, and this trip was no different. I can honestly say there was a great spirit in the team as we made our way to the game.
It’s different guys who lead the singing, and they take turns. Usually Shabba (Siphiwe Tshabalala) will take the lead, then Senzo (Meyiwa) has a bit of a voice. Lerato Chabangu at one point. It all depends on the song really. I’ve done my best to explain to Dean (Furman) what the songs mean and that kind of thing, and he seems to enjoy the singing and joins in the fun.
On feeling the weight of expectation, you know, we maybe started feeling the pressure a bit during the warm-up, but not that much. I mean at that stage as a player you are preparing your mind and your body for what’s to come. The crowd is there and you acknowledge that, but you are getting your mind ready, you are in the process of focusing. By the time we warm up, we know the starting line-up, so those who are playing are completely focused on the job ahead. We headed back into the dressing room. There were no visitors or anything like that. That happened during the week at the hotel and at the training sessions. Those last minutes in the change room before the game are spent listening to the coach, his final reminders on things that need to be done, that kind of thing.
I would say the second half against Cape Verde was a bit better than the first. We all know as players we could have used the ball better in the first half. But we have to learn from that and we have to adjust the way we do things. We were probably a little too direct at times and maybe we need to be a bit more patient.
There was that header where we could have won it. The corner was taken and I have gone up for the ball, but I think it was Siya (Siyabonga Sangweni) who has also come up and he has jumped up in front of me. When he did that, I lost sight of the ball. From that moment on, I’m trying to hang in the air and hoping for the best really. It’s just one of those situations. Another day maybe that gamble pays off, but on the day it just wasn’t meant to be it seems.
After the we all knew we could have done better. I think that best describes the mood among us. Then we watched the second game (Angola v Morocco) and that was the result we were all hoping for, which eased our feelings a bit. But, in saying that, we need to start doing ourselves favours and not rely on other teams to do that for us. We need to start making sure we get our job done and take care of business.
We had our recovery day and then a few sessions to prepare for Angola. The guys are working hard and also all the players here are intelligent and know how to adapt to be ready for the next game. Every player’s attitude has been good at training. I can’t say I have picked up anything negative from any player. Those that played are training hard and those that didn’t play are training hard to be ready for when they do play. Luckily for us there are no injury concerns at this stage.
We just need to use the ball better in the next games. We need to be patient and not be direct all the time. Our shape is important and we need to keep the right distances. We have enough talent that if we do the right things, we will always have a very good chance.
To our supporters, obviously we need support and all we can do is ask that the people stick with us, stay behind us as we go into the next game. We will keep giving our best and the good times will come. We have to believe that, we all have to believe that. It’s important to stay positive. There are two massive games to come and not all is lost. We really need you guys to support us.
The guys do different things to keep busy during the hotel life when in camp. Some guys like watching movies, others prefer to listen to music. Obviously the guys hang out and jokes are told and that kind of thing. So far there hasn’t really been a main prankster that has emerged as such. Some of the guys are into their PlayStation and so there are a couple of challenges that take place when it comes to the soccer games. I think it’s Khune (Itumeleng) who has brought the PlayStation and the other night it was Parker (Bernard) and Anele (Ngcongca) who were going at it quite hard.
Bafana Bafana captain