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Africa Cup of Nations

Q&A: Young Bafana's Qhamani dissects Bafana Afcon chances

18:41 SAST 2019/06/21
Percy Tau Bafana Bafana v Libya, September 2018
Young Bafana Academy player Qhamani Myolelo speaks of his expectation of Bafana Bafana at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt

Qhamani Myolelo is, known to his friends as Madala, is looking forward to the start of the AFCON tournament in Egypt. The U14 goalkeeper of the Young Bafana Soccer Academy will be watching the opening game of the South African national team at home in the township of Lwandle, Strand, with his family. Here are his thoughts on the AFCON tournament and the chances of the South African team.

Madala, the Afcon tournament begins on Friday. The South African national team is in perhaps the toughest group of the tournament along with Ivory Coast, Morocco and Namibia. DO you think our team can survive the group stage?

I think that we have a chance to move into the last 16. The Ivory Coast is the strongest team in the group, and will probably take first place. I think second place will be either South Africa or Morocco. But I’m sure we can beat them in a direct duel. If our players work hard and concentrate, we can do it. The match against Namibia is a must-win for us.

The Ivory Coast is in your view the favourite in the group. South Africa will play their first game against this team. What do you expect from the match?

If we draw, it would be a great success. The Ivory Coast has better and more experienced players than South Africa. But my guess is a 1:1.

What will be the key to getting a point?

Above all else, we must be well on the defensive against the strong offensive of Ivory Coast. With Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace, the opponents have a very good winger, in addition to other top players who play in Europe.

South Africa have conceded only two goals in the six Afcon qualifiers. Is that one of the big strengths of the team?

Yes, the players are very focused and work hard. However, I do think we lack a bit of speed in our defence. That's one of our weaknesses.

Where do you see the strengths of the team?

On the offensive, speed is our great strength. The strikers and wingers are very fast. We are strong and effective in our counter play.

Who is your favourite player in the South African team?

Striker Percy Tau, who is playing in Belgium. He has a good shot from any distance, he can assist and is very fast. With his two goals in the qualifier against Libya he secured us the AFCON tournament participation.

And who is the best South African player of all time?

Doctor Khumalo, the club legend of my favourite team Kaizer Chiefs.

What do you think of our coach Stuart Baxter?

He is a very good man. He also worked as coach of the Kaizer Chiefs, where he had a successful time. I’m sure he will prepare and motivate the team well.

How far can the team come in the course of the tournament?

Of course, that depends on the opponent in the knockout stage. But I think it's possible to reach the quarter-finals.

What would you do if South Africa won the tournament?

I would be overjoyed and would definitely have a big party. But a victory would be a very big surprise.

Thanks, Madala!