Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo has taken responsibility for the team’s below-par display on Friday.
Hlatshwayo said there was no excuse for how they performed and promised to atone for their showing on Tuesday night when they meet Cape Verde in the 2018 World Cup qualifier return leg at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
He said the players were gutted and wanted to get their campaign back on track.
Hlatshwayo urged the fans to rally behind the team.
“We know the supporters are not happy and we are also disappointed because we didn’t perform to our best. We know what we are capable of and we could have done better on the day, but things didn’t go our way. We have to man up and accept we were not at our best,” he said.
Hlatshwayo said the sooner they forgot about Friday’s defeat and moved forward, the better because there was no time to look back.
“We put ourselves in this situation and we need to respond. Fortunately, we have a chance to rectify our mistakes on Tuesday and make it count. I am confident we will do well at home and we are not going to lose hope as there is still a long way to go.”
He said the players were aware of the situation they had put themselves in after Friday’s defeat.
“It is not over yet and we know what we have to do going forward. I’m confident we will do well. We let ourselves and the supporters down because we were not at our best.”
Defender Eric Mathoho, who was red-carded in the game, apologised to his team-mates and South Africans for letting the team down. Although he did not think his foul warranted his marching orders, he said he would learn from his mistakes.
Mathoho was also sent off in his last game for Kaizer Chiefs, a mere fortnight ago.
“These are the first two red cards of my career and I’m not happy at all. But I will come back stronger and prove my worth,” Mathoho said.