By MGCINI DUBE AND SIPHOSETHU DLAMINI | 2023-05-28
SOCCER - SIHLANGU Semnikati head coach Dominic Kunene has pleaded with the nation to be patient with them and support the team ahead of their AFCON Qualifier match against a strong Togo side.
He said this during the media briefing at Sigwaca House on Wednesday, where he announced his 26-man squad. The nation’s pride will face Togo in the Total Energies AFCON Qualifiers to be played in the second week of June.
Kunene has come under fire from the public after he announced the squad with many questioning his methods and calling for his exit. This is after he omitted MTN Premier League top goal scorer Felix Badenhorst and Mbabane Highlanders keeper Khanyakwezwe Shabalala. The coach accepted the criticism and said all they were trying to do was to improve the national team’s performance as they also wanted to see the team reach greater heights.
“One would ask the nation to give us all the support, we need it more than anything at this point. We accept criticism but we want the public to also pick the positives in what we are doing. We are trying to build a competitive team and ask for patience as we continue to build the squad,” he said. Meanwhile, Kunene added that they would be going to the match and fight with all they had against a star-studded national team. Togo unveiled their squad which includes Qatari League leading scorer Kodjo Laba, who is on 28 goals in 26 games, as well as centre back Dakanon Djene of Getafe in Spain’s La Liga. Also included is former 33-year-old Fulham FC winger Floyd Ayite who has been absent from the squad for a year now.
The coach said he was aware that they would be facing an uphill battle, however, they would not throw in the towel. He said they would come up with appropriate tactics to enable them to try and get one over the side they drew against in the reverse fixture. “We will prepare for the match and are aware of what we have to do against them. It is important for us not to underestimate ourselves and I am certain that the boys will fight with everything they have to get us what we want, which is three points,” he said.
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