“We have a very strong bond in the changeroom,” says Kaizer Chiefs full-back Ramahlwe ‘Rama’ Mphahlele looking at the all-important Group E match against Nigeria coming up this Saturday, November 17. “With some new players coming into the squad, finding such a welcoming camp, makes it easier to gel into a winning team.”
This Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier is scheduled to take place at the iconic FNB Stadium. Kick-off is at 15:00.
Mphahlele warns against an all-or-nothing attitude. “Yes, this is a must-win. But we must play our normal game according to the plan that the coach will give us to master and apply on the day. That we have beaten them before will not count on the day.”
The Chiefs left-back was in the team that beat Nigeria and was the provider for Tokelo Rantie to score in the 55th minute of the historic 2-0 win. This first round of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, played on 10 June 2017, was the first ever Bafana Bafana win in a competitive game against the Super Eagles in Nigeria.
“Nigeria are always a hard nut to crack,” adds Mphahlele. “They have good players with experience. It is good that we are playing in front of our supporters. The mood in the camp is positive and all what is left is to execute our plans. We are not looking at the log, our focus is on a win every time we play.”
Group E is tight with three countries vying for the trip to Cameroon. Libya is in the run to contest for second spot and Seychelles are also in the running.
Mphahlele is experiencing a fine run of form for Amakhosi, picking up Man of the Match awards and scoring goals from his defensive position. He has already found three times the back of the net this season.
“It is always about the team and national pride is at stake,” he continues, “individual performances count when they contribute to the team’s success. I am looking forward to be part of the Bafana Bafana team that will make history of a double back-to-back win over Nigeria.”
South Africa let slip of the top position in Group E when they played to a goalless draw against Seychelles. With four matches played in the group, the Super Eagles now lead the standings with nine points, while Bafana Bafana are on eight points. “We missed lots of chances against Seychelles,” admits the right-back, “but we have moved on and put that behind us.”
“We are calling on South Africans to come in their numbers and rally behind the team on Saturday,” concludes Mphahlele. “We will do our best to represent the country with honour and dignity.”
The stage is set for what should be the mother of all shows on Saturday.