SA face hosts at AAG | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA face hosts at AAG

By Mark Etheridge
in Maputo

Ask any team manager or coach which team they don’t want to face at any given tournament and the answer is invariably the host nation.

Because no matter if they are considered minnows, home town support usually turns mice into men.

And that’s what manager Levy Ramajoe fears most as the South African soccer side play their first match at the 10th All Africa Games in Mozambique on Sunday.

‘We’ve played Mozambique before but on home turf any team is a different animal,” he said on ????
South Africa are drawn in Pool One along with Mozambique, Madagascar and Libya and predictably Ramajoe puts the first games down as the most crucial.

“I hear from the Mozambican manager that they spent three weeks in Brazil recently, preparing for this tournament so they’ll be a handful.

“But we’ll be prepared although it has been a bit of a struggle because although we held a five-day camp in preparation for these Games many of the clubs wouldn’t release their players so this squad as a whole only trained together one day before the Games.”

But since the team’s arrival they have been hard at work under the guidance of coach Shakes Mashaba and Ramajoe, who certainly knows his stuff, having been assistant manager of the national senior side at the 2009 Confederations Cup and at last year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Training is a two-hour drive from the Athletes’ Village and the team played a warm-up match on Friday, beating local first division side Mashakeng XI 2-0.

The goals came from Sundowns player Themba Zwane and Fisimpilo Ntombela who plays for Witbank Spurs.

Apart from Zwane Ramajoe also expects Orlando Pirates player Sibusiso Mxoyana to shine at these Games.

South Africa’s other matches are scheduled for 7 September (Madagascar) and 10 September (Libya).