Fresh off their failed attempt at qualifying for the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon, South Africa’s national football team has switched focus to another qualifying series – the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Bafana Bafana got back to training on Monday putting behind them their 1-1 draw with Mauritania last Friday.
South Africa failed to beat Mauritania in a crucial game that could see any of the two sides sail through to the Nations Cup which begins on January 14 in Gabon.
“What happened that we did not qualify for AFCON? We can’t change it. It happened. And what do we do now? We look forward to the next available assignment, which is qualifying for the World Cup. And we have to prepare very well for that,” Defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele told a press conference.
South Africa finished third in Group M with 7 points, having won 1 game, drawn 4 and lost 1.
“Obviously, it makes us feel bad, you know, because the coach and the technical staff believed in us. That’s the reason why they call us. And I don’t think they need to take the blame. We also need to take the blame, you know, because we’re the ones playing on the field. We’re the ones not converting our chances,” admitted midfielder Keagan Dolly.
Coach Ephraim Mashaba says the team will have to fight harder to secure a place in the 2018 World Cup.
But the 1996 AFCON winners will have a lot more work to do before then. They have to edge past Senegal, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde in the qualifiers for the World Cup which begins on October 3.