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South Africa inspired by late Meyiwa

13 November 2014, 15:17

ABUJA - South Africa, Cameroon and Tunisia will qualify for next year's Africa Cup of Nations -- wherever it takes place -- this weekend if they win their penultimate qualifying games.

Algeria and Cape Verde have already qualified for the 2015 tournament whose original hosts Morocco were stripped of the rights to stage the January 17 to February 8 finals over concerns over Ebola.

South Africa are top of Group A with eight points and are playing for the first time since the murder of skipper Senzo Meyiwa.

If they beat Sudan on Saturday in Durban -- the hometown of the slain Orlando Pirates goalkeeper -- will give them an unassailable 11 points.

"I think it's going to be very important for us to win this game because it will be a befitting send-off for the late Senzo," said coach 'Shakes' Mashaba, whose team could still earn an automatic passage to the Africa Cup should third-placed Nigeria fail to beat Congo in Pointe-Noire.

"One other thing we have been preaching is that the spirit of our late captain prevails in the team.

"Everybody has to have this mentality that we have to play to the best of our abilities like the late Senzo had been doing."

Also read: Weeping South Africans say goodbye to Meyiwa

Brilliant Khuzwayo, Darren Keet and Siyabonga Mpontshane are now battling to be named in goal for the late Meyiwa.

Striker Sibusiso Vilakazi has pulled out of the squad with a toe injury, while May Mahlangu said he is too tired to play for his country and he has subsequently been banned from the national team.

Bafana Bafana beat Sudan 3-0 in Omdurman in September in the first match between the two sides.

Congo and African champions Nigeria are also locked in a tussle in the same Group A with the Super Eagles in serious danger of missing out on the 16-team tournament after they lost to Congo and Sudan.

The Eagles, who have reinstated coach Stephen Keshi and recalled Villarreal striker Ikechukwu Uche, lost to Congo 3-2 at home in September and now need to win on Saturday by at least two clear goals to stay in the reckoning for automatic qualification.

"It's always an honour to play for my country and I am ready to give my best," declared Uche, who scored 14 goals in La Liga last season.

"I am not under any pressure to deliver, but the team spirit is high and as a team we would together do our best to qualify our country."

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