Road to Afcon finals begin

The Palancas Negras of Angola begin their campaign for the Gabon-Equatorial Guinea Orange CAN 2012 qualifiers this weekend in Kampala against the Cranes of Uganda.

Guinea and Bissau are the teams that complete the quartet in Group J.

The Palancas Negras, hosts of the last edition of the continental showpiece cannot afford to be absent at the next rendezvous, after reaching the last eight on home soil.

Considering the fact that Manuel Jose did not bring the expected result, the Angolan Football Federation has handed over the reigns of the team to Frenchman Herve Renard, who was hitherto in charge Zambia, which he led to the last eight.

Since Renard took over in March, the team has played three matches starting with a 1-1 draw against Latvia in Luanda before stumbling against Mexico and the United States (0-1) before recently losing 0-2 to Uruguay last August.

Angola will be making a trip to Uganda this weekend to play their first match. The clash appears difficult considering the fact that the Ugandan side has been absent from the biennial event since since 1978, and won’t want to miss out again.

The Frenchman named a preliminary 26-man squad, with young goalie Aldo Monteiro “Kadu” of FC Porto, 18-year old midfielder Osvaldo Diniz of Petro Atletico and Titi Buengo amongst others.

Renard has said that he is determined to revive the team with a blend of young and old faces.

South Africa need to start well to go forward in the 2012 Orange African Cup of nations qualifiers, coach Pitso Mosimane has said.

Bafana-Bafana kickoff their qualifying run to the Gabon/Equatorial Guinea African Cup finals today when they host Niger host in Mpumalanga at the 2010 Fifa World Cup venue of Mbombela Stadium.

“We will be going into this game knowing we need the three points and we won’t relax at all,” Mosimane said.

South Africa are in Group G which also comprises of Sierra Leone and defending African champions Egypt.

“Our next game is away to Sierra Leone and we have to start well to go forward with high spirits and morale.”
South Africa travel to Sierra Leone during the weekend of October 8-10 on match day two.

And Mosimane also stressed the importance of patriotism and importance of wearing the South Africa jersey.

“I always tell my players that wearing the national team jersey is very important and that they should play to represent the country with full commitment and pride,” he said.

South Africa, African Cup winners in 1996, are attempting to qualify for the African Cup after failing to reach this year’s finals held in Angola.

Bobby Williamson, Uganda Cranes tactician has said they are ready to face the fancied Angola team in the 2012 Caf Orange Africa Cup of Nations Cup qualifier on Saturday at the Namboole Stadium.

“We are more than ready to make a good start. I am happy all the local based players and the professionals summoned are responding well,” said the Scottish born coach who also won two regional Cecafa senior Challenge Cup trophies with the Cranes.

“Everybody is training hard and wants to play,” said Williamson, “But I have to put out 11 players. I am headache picking the first 11 because I am spoilt for choice.”

About making a late call for Scottish based winger David Obua who turns out for Hearts, the coach said although the player had been out injured for over a month and only recovered and played 15 minutes of the league match last weekend, the player was more than hungry to play for his nation.

“I talked to Obua and he assured me that he could play a big part in that game against Angola,” said Williamson.

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