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Africa Cup of Nations

Bafana Bafana midfielder Hlompho Kekana delights in their victory over Namibia

9:34 AM WAT 29/06/2019
South Africa v Namibia - Hlompho Kekana - June 2019
The veteran midfielder is confident they will build on their win over their southern Africa neighbours and qualify for the knockout phase of Afcon

Bafana Bafana midfielder Hlompho Kekana is delighted they managed to secure their first Group D win in the 2019 African Cup of Nations over Namibia on Friday night.

The Mamelodi Sundowns skipper says they knew what to expect from the Brave Warriors whilst saying he expects a tactical game against Morocco on Monday.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult match against the Namibian side, they are very energetic and we knew that if we match their energy levels we stand a good chance of winning the match,” Kekana told media after the match.

“We had a good chance because we have better players that can manipulate the system then we managed to do and that and in various occasions, we managed to create chances and I am quite happy we managed to score one of those chances,” he said.

Speaking about the difference between qualifying and the tournament itself, ‘KK’ said the continental showpiece is a different stage and some of his teammates are still trying to adjust.

“Well, I think more than anything it’s a different ball game altogether and this is a big tournament and most of the guys are still trying to find themselves that they are really in this tournament,” continued the 34-year-old.

“Look, we are happy to be here and we just want to learn and try to ensure that we win our matches more than anything is to try and do it for ourselves,” he added.

“Because really we came all the way to come and play in this tournament and for us is to try and win matches and hopefully we will find ourselves in a very good position that we want to be in,” he noted.

Following their 1-0 defeat to the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire on Monday, Kekana said the win over coach Ricardo Mannetti’s troops has helped to uplift their morale.

“We just want to loosen up a little bit and for sure the win will lift the morale very high because we really needed this win and more than anything we have been hard on ourselves because of the match we played against the Ivorians,” he admitted.

“It was only one mistake that they used to score against us and to be honest we stood a good chance of winning that match…but overall performance today and the first game. 

“I think more or less the same it’s just that we created chances today and I am happy we managed to score one,” added the Bafana star. 

Speaking about the clash against the Atlas Lions who have six points at the top of the log table, Kekana said he anticipates a tough encounter.

Having faced a number of North African opposition at club level, the 2016 Champions League winner says facing coach Herve Renard’s men will be an emotional one for him.

“It’s going to be a very, very good thing for me, a very emotional performance that we have to give because the North Africans,” he predicted.

“They play a very tactical game and I think more than anything we have to plan well against them to ensure we deny them an opportunity to be in our half and I’ve got confidence in the guys because we have got a smart players up front that can turn their defenders,” concluded Kekana.