Hlatshwayo eager to shift Bafana's mentality

Bafana have in the past lost to Mauritania and Madagascar in the recent Cosafa Cup, where they lost 4-3 on penalties to crash out of the tournament in the early stages.

FILE: Bafana Bafana skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo. Picture: @Safa_Net/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo wants his side to have a bigger mental approach to playing the so-called smaller nations on the continent as they prepare to face Libya in an Afcon qualifier in Durban on Saturday.

Bafana have in the past disappointingly lost to Mauritania and Madagascar in the recent Cosafa Cup, where they lost 4-3 on penalties to crash out of the tournament in the early stages.

Hlatshwayo who has seemingly overcome his injury-ravaged period and has been integral for his club side Bidvest Wits’ impressive early form in the new Premier Soccer League season, that sees them sitting comfortably at the top of the log with four wins from their first five games.

"Tyson", as he is affectionally known by his club and national teammates, says Bafana need to show the same mental edge they show when they come up against the bigger nations, to when they come up against the smaller ones.

“We need to display the same kind of performances against the smaller nations as we do against the bigger nations on the continent. It’s a mentality that we need to work on as players and not only coaches, so it is going to be important for us to have a bigger mental shift this weekend.”

Bafana sit second behind their opponents on Saturday in Group E of the Afcon qualifiers, separated only by goal difference after beating the Nigerian Super Eagles in Uyo last year.

Hlatshwayo says that it was disappointing missing out on this year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia and watching Nigeria who they beat last year.

“We were obviously not happy about sitting at home and watching the World Cup and watching Senegal and Nigeria knowing very well that we just beat Nigeria not so long ago.”

Hlatshwayo admittedly says that they owe South Africans for missing out on the World Cup and nothing but victory against Libya will help rectify that pain.

“We need to apply ourselves accordingly on Saturday and we owe it to the country to get a victory against Libya.”

Kickoff at the Moses Mabhida stadium is at 15:00.