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POLOKWANE – Following the painful exit in the main COSAFA Cup tournament, wounded Sihlangu will have another shot at redemption when they meet Botswana in the Plate semi-finals tonight.

The Plate is COSAFA’s second-tier tournament, which is meant to give the quarter-final losers more game time. Sihlangu are not only provided with an opportunity to redeem themselves, but stand a chance to face South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in the Plate final. The latter take on Namibia in the other semi-final following a shocking 3-4 penalty shoot-out loss to Madagascar on Sunday.

While coach Anthony Mdluli hopes to give his ‘new boys’ a chance to prove themselves in the Plate tournament, the nation demands results. He will be forced to unleash the best from his arsenal, as Botswana are proving to be a serious threat. The ‘Zebras’ have started in the group stages in the COSAFA tournament following a low rank and are yet to lose a game in open play in all four matches played so far.

In an interview after yesterday’s training session at a nearby rugby field styled Noordelikes, Mdluli stressed on the need to make amends for the disappointing exit in the main tournament after the 0-1 loss to Lesotho.
“It is important to win against the neighbours, even though it is beyond our control sometimes.

“Botswana are good and their attackers are dangerous, so we’ve done our homework. We hope the players will approach the game with a right frame of mind. We tried to address the challenges from the last outing, as we were slow when advancing,” he said.

On the possibility of facing Bafana Bafana in the Plate final, Mdluli said it was a motivating factor, highlighting that the side that lost to Madagascar looked beatable.
“Bafana are playing in low tempo. Even Lesotho are better than them.


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