Bafana Bafana will be hoping break their chain of losses in East London by putting Zambia to the sword when they host the Chipolopolo side in a Chan qualifier at Buffalo City Stadium today at 3pm.
The senior national team will be playing in East London for the third time and have lost the two previous games, against Zimbabwe in a Cosafa Cup in 2003 and played a draw in an international friendly against Angola in March.
The Warriors edged Bafana 1-0 while the Palancas Negras held the South Africans to a goalless draw in March. Bafana will be looking to get maximum points today with the return leg away — something Stuart Baxter’s team know will be a mammoth task.
And making matters more tricky for Bafana is the fact that Baxter and his technical team had to deal with a number of players — at least 10 — withdrawing for national duty.
As a result, the Briton this week described the preparations for today’s game as the most challenging experience of his decorated coaching experience. He told journalists this week that Chipolopolo will not be a walk in the park, as they have brought their strongest team.
Players on the fringe like Asavela Mbekile at Mamelodi Sundowns will be eager to put up good performances in national team colours.
Speaking after the team’s first training session in East London, captain Mario Booysen said they will give 100% on the field to give fans something to cheer about.
“The fact is that we all have a responsibility to do our duty and perform for the national team, because when all is said and done, you really look forward to this moment in your career of representing your country. We don’t see any negatives but only positivity, so we have to get a good result.”