Dolly backs Bafana to bounce back

Bafana Bafana winger Keagan Dolly says the national team players are raring to go ahead of their back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sao Tome e Principe in the coming days.

Bafana will tackle the islanders in Durban on Friday, and then move to Port Elizabeth on Monday for the reverse fixture after Sao Tome agreed to play what was their home game in South Africa due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Following a draw with Namibia and loss to Zambia in friendlies in the last camp, Dolly says there is a real determination to put things right.

“As a player, everyone wants to be part of the national team. All the players here are looking forward to the games, especially after the results in the last camp. We want to win both games, especially as we are playing at home,” he said.

“It is just for the new players, it has been a little tough. We lost some players and had to call in new guys. But that is part of football, we just have to do what we know the coach wants from us.”

Montpellier midfielder Dolly says the fact that he and a number of the overseas players have been getting more game-time at their clubs this season is a real plus.

“It shows that we want to go forward and are moving in the right direction, it is always good to have players come in with confidence. The squad we have is a good balance of young and experienced players and I think we can work well together.

“It is not a secret that I have not been playing as much, I have been suffering from injuries. But that is in the past now. I had nine weeks of pre-season and that helped me a lot, it gave me the confidence.

“And scoring in the last camp against Zambia, it helped me going back to my team. I come here with confidence.

“I feel like a few players were a bit unfit [in October’s camp] as the season here had just ended. But that is in the past, we are back to our full fitness.”

He also says they will not underestimate Sao Tome e Principe, who are ranked number 182 in the world.

“In the past we suffered with that a lot when it came to the small countries. We tend to take it lightly and think it will be a walk in the park. But we have learnt from our mistakes.”

Bafana started their Afcon qualification pool with defeat to Ghana (0-2) and victory over Sudan (1-0). The top two teams in each pool advance to the finals in Cameroon in early 2022.