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New Bafana Bafana Captain, ‘Tyson’ Talks Tough

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The Times of South Africa has reported that Thulani Hlatshwayo, alias ‘Tyson’  is not intimidated by being made Stuart Baxter’s Bafana Bafana captain‚ nor meeting Nigeria away in a crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in his first outing as permanent skipper when leadership on the field will be crucial.

As captain and centre back for newly-crowned Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits‚ ‘Tyson’ never shirks a challenge and dishes them out with an at times bone-crushing intensity.

It seems Bafana’s new captain will take to that task with the same relish – not talking so much‚ but leading by example.

Hlatshwayo has captained Bafana before‚ under the strange rotation policy of previous coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba.

He is not intimidated by being given the armband full-time this week by Baxter

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I’m honored to be given the armband permanently‚” Hlatshwayo said at Bafana’s training session at FNB Stadium on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria in Uyo.

“Though‚ I know that I do have a lot of captains around me. So I know I have a lot of backing.

“It’s good knowing it’s on a permanent basis – knowing that when I’m called I’ll be the national team captain.

“It’s something that I’m familiar with. I’m the captain at Wits‚ so it’s an environment that I know.

“I’ll be looking to talk to the guys. As individual players we all have a responsibility to make sure that we perform for the country.

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“Sometimes coaches say that‚ ‘You’ve lost the game but you played your heart out’ – and that’s what I expect from the guys.”

Hlatshwayo does not shirk from the responsibility of facing Nigeria in his first game as captain.

“I’m up for the job. I’m a guy who always likes to compete. And I’ve captained the team against Nigeria when we played them at Mbombela Stadium (in a 1-1 friendly draw under Mashaba in March 2015).

“Unfortunately in that game we didn’t convert a penalty. When you look back‚ we dribbled them‚ we controlled the game‚ we did everything.

“So it’s a familiar environment that I’m aware of‚ and we know we have to go to Nigeria and come back with a good result.

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“We know that will demand a lot of soldiers around the team. I’m one of them‚ and we do have a lot of soldiers in this side.”

Hlatshwayo said Bafana will not be intimidated by the home crowd in Uyo‚ where SA held a 2-0 lead thanks to a Tokelo Rantie brace in a 2015 Nations Cup qualifier in November 2014‚ before late goals saw the Super Eagles earn a 2-2 draw.

The new Bafana captain‚ though‚ admitted that Nigeria‚ who preserved their unbeaten record in competitive matches against     Bafana with that draw‚ will be on the rebound having been denied a place at Afcon 2015 by SA in those qualifiers.

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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AFCON

Thank you, Morocco!

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

The President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Dr. Patrice Motsepe has expressed deep gratitude to the Kingdom of Morocco, the country that has bailed out the confederation and many African countries by hosting most of the football events.

The Africa Cup of Nations 2025 as well as the women’s edition will be hosted by the North African country.

An appreciative Motsepe remarked: “I am confident that the CAF TotalEnergies AFCON Morocco 2025 will be extremely successful and will be the best AFCON in the history of this competition.

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“I am also impressed by the enormous growth of Women’s Football in Africa and I am expecting the CAF TotalEnergies WAFCON Morocco 2024 to be immensely successful.

“ We will continue to make significant progress in developing and ensuring that African Football is globally competitive and amongst the best in the World.

“CAF is grateful to King Mohamed VI of Morocco, the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Football (FRMF), its President Fouzi Lekjaa, the Government and people of Morocco for hosting the CAF TotalEnergies AFCON Morocco 2025 and the CAF TotalEnergies WAFCON Morocco 2024.”

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AFCON

Why it took us a long time to announce AFCON & WAFCON dates – CAF

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed the earlier dates of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations announced by Sports Village Square Friday afternoon.

As reported, the Africa Cup of Nations will run from 21 December 2025 to 18 January 2026 while the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for this year also in Morocco will hold from 5 to 26 July 2026, suffering a year postponement.

According to a press statement by CAF, the announcement of the dated took much longer than expected, “as there were complex and at times challenging discussions with various interested parties, in the light of the extensive International and Domestic Match Calendars.”

Continuing, CAF stated that it is “committed to protecting and advancing the interests of African players, playing in football clubs in Europe and worldwide. CAF is also committed to building mutually beneficial relationships with the ECA, UEFA, other Football Confederations and FIFA.”

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AFCON

EXCLUSIVE: AFCON 2025 now to run across two years

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CAF Enters Negotiation With FIFA, Morocco And European Clubs Over AFCON 2025 Timing -

At last a date has now been fixed for the Africa Cup of Nations 2025 slated for Morocco. Sports Village Square has gathered that the championship will now hold from 21 December 2025 to 18 January 2026.

That is one of the decisions taken by the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF)  which held a virtual meeting about two hours ago.

The confederation has been having headache over the timing of the tournament which initially was scheduled for the January-February calendar. That period proved impossible owing to congested fixtures that has scuppered the qualifying series.

Available windows are already taken up by the qualifying series for the 2026 World Cup making it impossible for the 24 finalists for the AFCON 2025 to emerge before January 2025.

Morocco proposed the tournament for the summer of 2025, but the inaugural 32-format FIFA Club World Cup of 2025 has made that impossible.

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Other worries of CAF include the timing for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco this year which is yet to get a date and the annual Women’s Champions League which till now has no hosts let alone a date.

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