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Hlompho Kekana backs Bafana to improve and qualify for World Cup

JOHANNESBURG – The Fifa World Cup in Qatar kicks off on Sunday, with the hosts meeting Ecuador in the opening game and Bafana Bafana will play Angola in an international on the same day.

Although there are several other friendly matches being played around the world over the weekend, it will be a bitter pill to swallow for South African fans to watch their team play in a non-competitive match while 32 nations compete for football’s most coveted prize.

Former Bafana midfielder Hlompho Kekana shares in the disappointment of the country’s football lovers and has resigned himself to supporting Belgium and Argentina during the tournament.

“It’s always difficult to talk about the World Cup when Bafana is not there. But the reality is that the World Cup is here and we should enjoy the matches. All one can do is enjoy this beautiful game of football,” Kekana said.

Another painful aspect for Bafana supporters will be watching Ghana's participation at the showpiece event. The Black Stars handed South Africa their only defeat of the qualifiers in controversial fashion and there are some, like Kekana, who have yet to get over that loss.

"My heart is still sore about the other country that qualified for the World Cup [at Bafana’s expense] … But they deserve to be there, to be honest. They’ve got players who are competing everywhere in the world."

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The former Mamelodi Sundowns captain does believe that the current national squad can improve and gain entry into the big tournament if they apply themselves and give their best. Kekana has bought into coach Hugo Broos’ selections and thinks things can get better.

"I’m a big fan of continuity. When you have a team that consistently plays together, you stand a better chance of getting results. I’d love to see the same team selected continue and play in the [Afcon] qualifiers, just to make sure they qualify."

Bafana Bafana beat Mozambique 2-1 in a friendly on Thursday evening.

The victory stretches their winning streak to three matches ahead of the Angola game.

Their next competitive fixtures are against Liberia in the Afcon qualifiers in March.

Artmotion S.Africa

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