FILE - South Africa’s Teboho Mokoena in action. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
FILE - South Africa’s Teboho Mokoena in action. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

’My goals took us to the Olympics, I hope they can take us to the World Cup,’ says Teboho Mokoena

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published Nov 12, 2021

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Johannesburg – Teboho Mokoena doesn’t find the back of the net often at international level. That’s why he’s adamant that his goal in Bafana Bafana’s win over Zimbabwe in the penultimate round of the World Cup qualifiers could very well send them to the finals.

Bafana have had an impressive outing in the qualifiers. They are at their summit of Group G with 13 points, three ahead of second-placed Ghana who’ll host them in the decider at Cape Coast Sports Stadium tomorrow evening.

The South Africans head into this clash with the advantage, meaning that a draw should be enough to qualify them for the next round. They achieved that feat after a solo header from Mokoena gave them the maximum points against Zimbabwe.

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Mokwena’s goal was key for Bafana, especially after Ghana drew with Ethiopia earlier at a neutral Orlando Stadium. It’s not the first time Mokwena he has chipped in with the what could be an important goal at international level.

At the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations last year, Mokwena’s solo goal, from a free-kick, against Ivory Coast in the group stage earned his team their only win in the group. But they reached the play-offs and qualified for the 2020 Olympics.

Albeit the job that still needs to be done, including getting a draw or win over Ghana tomorrow in order to finish top of the group and progress to the next round, Mokwena is confident they’ll reach the next round, win and qualify for Qatar.

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“Funny enough me and my roommate Tercious (Malepe), we were talking about it before the game. My goals take us to the next round because at Afcon my goal took us to the knockout stage which took us to the Olympics,” he reflected.

“We were talking about it before the game. When I scored that goal I was full of emotions and happy. I was thinking about it: life is very weird. I was playing in the Olympics, now we are about to take the country to the World Cup. It’s amazing.”

Despite the win, Bafana coach Hugo Broos was not pleased with his team’s performance. He felt that they allowed Zimbabwe too much space and time on the ball. And they would have been punished by a team like Ghana for such negligence.

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“It is true the coach was not happy with the performance,” Mokoena said “I think we could have done better. Our pressing was not like the way it used to be. We did not press like a team, we did it individually. But I think we can do better.”

Bafana will have to do more than just better if they are to get something out of the Black Stars in their own backyard. The two teams last meeting in West Africa was in the Afcon qualifiers where Bafana returned home humbled by a 2-0 defeat.

But, sure, it’s a different campaign with new coaches at the helm for either side – Bafana have Broos, while Ghana have Milovan Rajevac. That’s why Mokoena and Co. will be positive that they’ll get the result they need at Cape Coast.

@Mihlalibaleka

IOL Sport

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