Hugo Broos has been forced to make one change to his squad, but what has really irked the Bafana Bafana coach is the “unfair” advantage given to one of their opponents in their World Cup qualification group.
It’s been confirmed that Ghana, who will face South Africa in a deciding fixture in Group G next week, will play Ethiopia at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto – an exquisite football pitch compared to the cabbage patch Broos and his men had to endure at the Bahir Dar Stadium back in October despite a hard fought 3-1 victory.
The Black Stars get to take a comfortable direct flight from Accra to Johannesburg following FIFA’s decision to ban Ethiopia’s home ground.
“It’s not fair what happened, they let two countries play in that very bad stadium, in that very bad location and pitch. We had to do it and it was an important game also for Zimbabwe, now suddenly Ghana can play their game in paradise,” the Bafana coach told the media ahead of this week’s return leg against Zimbabwe.
“This is really a paradise when you compare it to the stadium in Ethiopia. They have to travel, yes, but it’s a direct flight from Accra to Joburg, this is not fair. I don’t understand how FIFA approved this stadium, then two games later suddenly it’s not approved anymore. But this can only happen in Africa, where the opponent can play almost every game at home because the other team don’t have a home stadium! This is really not fair. But we are a point ahead, it’s in our hands, although it will be easier for them against Ethiopia.”
Broos will have to quickly put that behind him and prepare for what only he and the squad can control as the group log leaders.
Sifiso Hlanti, who raptured his Achilles tendon at his club Kaizer Chiefs’ training session ahead of the Soweto Derby at the weekend, has been ruled out and replaced by Tercious Malepe of AmaZulu for the clash.
“We’ve lost two players that I can need in games like one against Ghana for example without Hlanti and (Mothobi) Mvala. There will be others, but it’s up to them to take the chance when it’s given,” the coach explained.
“You will be surprised that I say I am surprised with how we are doing – two months ago I think everyone would have laughed if we said we would be top of our group. We’ve done a fantastic job up to now, although sometimes my choices were not good hence my selections have changed. I didn’t know about SA football, but I know much more now. These games don’t make me nervous, I have confidence in my team. Let the games come and we will see! I will be happier if we go to Ghana still with the points, but we will focus on Zimbabwe first.”
Story by @superjourno
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