Mothwa: There’s a lot of pressure on the national team

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  • Post published:November 18, 2023

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Veli Mothwa says his side have to “apply themselves in every aspect, mentally and physically” when they take on Benin in their 2026 World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

South Africa’s hopes were crushed and the dream of making it to the FIFA World Cup in 2022 was crushed in Ghana.

The South African senior national team’s disappointment at not making it to the previous global tournament was palpable, but this time around, coach Hugo Broos has instilled confidence in each player, which is now ingrained in their memories.

Goalie Veli Mothwa, who has been with the team since Broos became head coach, understands the agony of getting so close and then not being able to secure a tournament ticket.

“We are determined. If you take a look at the group of players now, most of us were there and felt the pain of not making it to the World Cup. This time it’s different, we know who we are and what we can do and come 2026 we will be there. I have no doubt in my mind about that, I believe that,” said the Bafana Bafana keeper.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the national team. It’s about winning the first two games (against Benin and Rwanda) and not just performing well, but walking away from the games victorious.”

“These games are not friendlies, these games determine so much and require so much from us as well. So we have to apply ourselves in every aspect, mentally and physically. Some of us come from back-to-back games in our league and continental competitions, so there’s a delicate balance when it comes to sufficient rest as well.”

On Saturday, November 18, 2023, Broos’ team will play a 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Benin at Moses Mabhida Stadium. On Tuesday, November 21, 2023, Bafana Bafana will travel to East-Central Africa to play Rwanda in the second qualifier.

“While I believe we can do this, and we have Africa Cup of Nations on our doorstep, I urge everyone to get behind us, support us because in every game the 12th man plays a role,” continued Mothwa. “We have been playing our part and I hope that our fans will come in numbers to support us when we hit Durban on Saturday, and to keep it going till Tuesday when we play Rwanda.”

Photo by Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix