Despite a run of three matches without a goal in the ongoing AFCON qualifiers, Zebras Head Coach David Bright believes there would still be much to play for when his charges take on Burkina Faso on a return fixture tomorrow night in Francistown.
Bright told sports journalists at a press conference in Francistown that a win on Tuesday will open up Group I also comprising Angola and Mauritania.
The Zebras have lost their opening three fixtures.
A disappointing 0-1 home loss to Mauritania in June last year was followed by another 1-0 loss away to Angola before a humbling 3-0 thrashing by Burkina Faso this past Saturday.
The team remains fourth without a single point while the other three teams are on six points each.
Bright said supporters should not read much into Saturday’s 3-0 loss and said his team is capable of overturning the results at Francistown Sports Complex.
“Our first challenge was that referees were from Ivory Coast and they gave a lot of respect to their fellow French speaking players,” Bright said, adding that their opponents were awarded soft free kicks which they used to punish his team.
“We however still stand a chance. If we win tomorrow the group will be wide open and anyone from there would stand a chance to qualify,” he said.
Bright’s sentiments were echoed by two of his most experienced players Simisani Mathumo and Kabelo Dambe.
The Bloemfontein keeper said although they lost away they can still repeat the 2015 feat by defeating their opponents on Tuesday. “They rely on individual brilliance and are not good travelers. So with a little bit of help from our supporters we can get a good result tomorrow and go on to collect a total of nine points,” Dambe said.
While the local tactician was talking hope, the Burkinabe Assistant Coach, Firmin Sanou, however was adamant that his side will walk away clear winners on Tuesday.
Sanou said they will not be playing for a draw, but will be as aggressive as they were in Ouagadougou on Saturday.
One of the team’s star players, Alain Traore, who didn’t face the Zebras in 2015 after his luggage got lost in South Africa chose to be more diplomatic.
The 29 year old Renaissance de Berkane attacking midfielder was full of praise for his opponents despite the convincing win on Saturday. “The Zebras are an aggressive side and they have been improving over the years. They are also very warm and likable individuals,” added Traore with a wry smile. A cunning fox? That will be revealed tomorrow at the Francistown Sports Complex at 7pm.