Courtesy: All AfricaSouth Africa: Futsal National Team One Round Away From World Cup in Thailand19 May 2012
The South African Futsal National Team has moved into the last round of the FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers after playing to a one-all draw against Zimbabwe - giving them a 5-3 aggregate victory.
The return leg was played at the Wembley Stadium in Turffontein on Saturday, 19 May 2012 at the request of Zimbabwe who are still renovating their field.
The first leg was also played at Wembley a fortnight ago, and South Africa won by four goals to two (4-2).
Despite their two-goal lead from the previous encounter, South Africa started the match under pressure as Zimbabwe came out firing on all fronts.
In the first half, the home side defended vigorously and their keeper had a good game, denying Zimbabwe and keeping the score line at nil-nil at the break.
The visitors continued from where they left off in the second half, and were rewarded with a goal scored by Farai Madora. But it did not take the South Africans too long and they managed to equalise through Sibusiso Tshabalala, giving the hosts a two-goal lead.
And that's how it ended 1-all, 5-3 on aggregate.
"I am ecstatic about the result and really have no words. Credit must go to the players who did everything that was asked of them to help us proceed to the next round. They worked very hard as Zimbabwe was a very tough opponent, but we knew what they were capable of and we were ready for them," said head coach Quinton Allies.
"It was a very difficult match for us and we were under pressure to defend our lead. And true to form they came very strongly at us, and were very motivated trying to reduce the score line but we managed to contain them in the first half. The second stanza was different as they managed to score," said SA captain Gift Mashaba.
"The win though means a lot to all of us as we are now one step closer to Thailand where the FIFA Futsal World Cup will be played. This will be a first for our country and that makes us proud."
South Africa will now face Libya in the third and final round of the qualifiers with the match scheduled for the weekend of 8-10 June.
"Libya is a very good side as they have been playing this game for a very long time now. They are ranked 34th while we are 84th - so that is a huge gap. To beat them we have to double our efforts and not make silly mistakes. But we will do our homework and ensure that when we go to them we are more than prepared," said Allies.
The 7th Edition of the FIFA Futsal World Cup will take place in Thailand from 1-18 November 2012.
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari