Bafana Bafana completed their only training session at San Jose’s National Stadium and coach Shakes Mashaba said being professionals his players were ready for the challenges.
South Africa arrived in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose at around 10h00 on Tuesday morning ((16h00 SA time) and could not head straight for training as the players were both jet-lagged and mentally fatigued from the marathon journey.
But Mashaba was all smiles after the gruelling one-and-half hour session in blazing heat on Wednesday and immediately declared that he was spoilt for choice for the starting 11.
“The only area of concern is upfront where I think we are a bit short of strikers but in general, fans should be in for a real treat.
“The players looked sharp and despite the lack of sufficient time to gel, I am happy, very happy with what I have at my disposal. We should compete, and compete hard, come match day,” said an upbeat Mashaba.
The Bafana Bafana versus Costa Rica game will be beamed live on SABC 1 and commences at 04h00 South African time in the early hours of Friday.
Mashaba said what makes him confident that this group of players will be up to the task is the general spirit among the players which he said was sky high.
“The general mood in the team has been amazing. I suppose it has to do with the way we have been welcomed as well. The hospitality has been superb and we need to repay soccer fans with an exciting brand of football. We owe it to fans back home to put smiles on their faces as well,” added Mashaba.
His sentiments were echoed by defender Anele Ngcongca who said despite handicaps here and there, Bafana Bafana were headed in the right direction under the tutelage of coach Mashaba.
“I know South Africans want us to win everything but from now onwards, we will put our foot on the gas and try to deliver. We owe it to South Africans for the senior national team to make the country proud and happy.
“This is an ideal preparation for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Angola. We can’t afford to make mistakes again because people South Africans love their Bafana Bafana and we have to reciprocate and deliver,” said Ngcongca.
After the match against Costa Rica, Bafana Bafana leave for Honduras on Friday to complete the Central American tour which both Ngcongca and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune said should be used as a springboard to achieve greater things.