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Revitalised Mankgantai chases COSAFA record

MQONDISI DUBE
Makgantai
Onkabetse Mankgantai has been the Zebras' stand out performer at the COSAFA Cup taking place in Polokwane, South Africa.

As he trots out on to the new Peter Mokaba pitch at 5pm tonight, Mankgantai stands on the brink of history as he chases the tournament’s all-time leading scorer accolade.

Zimbabwean, Ovidy Karuru scored six in the 2017 edition held in the North West, and Mankgantai, who put away two beautiful strikes against Angola and Swaziland, is just one behind with five.

Mankgantai had to endure a frustrating start to the season after a brief stint in the Democratic Republic of Congo with AS Vita.  His season appeared to fall away, but he has picked up the pieces admirable for his local side, Orapa United, which saw him earn a call-up to the Zebras where he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

The Zebras face Bafana Bafana in the plate final at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium, aiming to bag the consolation prize after a hugely promising tournament took a disappointing detour with a 3-1, quarterfinal defeat to Zimbabwe. The team had

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not been given much chance to progress in the regional tournament, but they have seen their credentials soar after gritty and eye-catching performances. Mankgantai and Kabelo Seakanyeng have proven to be the team’s heartbeat, and coach, David Bright will want to build on their impressive performance as the Zebras prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later in the year.

The duo, particularly Mankgantai, with the added incentive of breaking the COSAFA Cup goal scoring record, are expected to feature prominently against the South Africans.

Bafana Bafana have often proved to be a speed hump for the Zebras in the past, and Bright, who had a stint in South Africa, would want to reverse that.

If they win the plate final, the Zebras will pocket R75, 000 while the winners walk away with R500, 000. The final is a repeat of last year’s where neighbours, Zambia and Zimbabwe, will square off at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium at 7:30pm tomorrow.



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