Kaizer Chiefs defender Njabulo Ngcobo is looking forward to facing a star-studded Ghana Black Stars on the Cape Coast tonight, but is confident Bafana Bafana will be able to stay focused and secure progression to the final round of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification.
Ngcobo had a solid performance in the important 1-0 win against neighbours Zimbabwe at Amakhosi’s home ground, FNB Stadium, on Thursday night, and he is upbeat ahead of what is D-Day for Bafana’s World Cup qualification fate away in Ghana this evening.
“We arrived safely in Ghana and the spirit in the camp is very high,” Ngcobo said from Bafana’s camp in Cape Coast, adding “We have prepared for the game against them and we are ready to fight for three points. We know it won’t be easy, but we have to give it our all and fight until the last minute. We truly hope to get the outcome we desire from the match.”
Bafana Bafana need to avoid defeat in this last game of the group against the Black Stars in order to qualify for the next and last stage of the qualifiers on the road to Qatar 2022.
Bafana lead Group G with 13 points and Ghana’s Black Stars are second with 10 points, though there is still all to play for as a Ghana two-goal winning margin tonight could still see them qualify at Bafana’s expense.
“We are looking forward to taking them on and we know they have some good quality players in their squad,” said a confident Ngcobo. “Some of their guys ply their trade in top leagues in Europe and will want to win at all costs. What is important for us is to focus on our game and get the three points”.
Some of the Black Stars’ big name players include Leicester’s Daniel Amartey and their experienced captain Andre Ayew, while Arsenal’s Thomas Partey will miss out tonight due to injury.
“Playing against these strong sides and players will prepare us for many other games on the continent in the future because we have a relatively young squad and we are learning with every game we play,” said the 27-year-old defender, who is equally adept in midfield.
“It also helps to have people such as Keagan (Dolly) in our team, because he is someone who is experienced and has played in Europe. He does provide good advice on what to do on the pitch and great expertise,” Ngcobo added of his in-form Amakhosi teammate who laid on the cross for Teboho Mokoena’s winner against the Warriors.
“It was not easy against Zimbabwe back home because we wanted to win at all costs. Maybe our approach should have been to play our normal game and win, but we just wanted to win instead of focusing on playing fancy football. We needed the three points and we got them – that is all that matters.”
It’s the kind of no-frills approach which will stand Bafana in good stead tonight.
“Personally, I think I did okay in that match,” adds Ngcobo. “But I believe there’s still some room for improvement in my game. The change in position may have played a role because I have not played in defence in a while. Importantly, we did not concede and that always our aim as the defenders.”
A clean sheet tonight will see Bafana knock out one of African football’s giants to ensure important World Cup progression.
The last group game at the Cape Coast Stadium in Cape Coast, in the central region of the West African country, will be live on SABC 1 from 21:00.