REVVED UP: Thembi Lorch. Photo: GERHARD DURAAN/BACKPAGEPIX

Bafana Bafana’s new faces Thembinkosi Lorch and Cape Town City duo Gift Links and Thami Mkhize are out to make a massive impact in their Afcon 2019 qualifiers. 

The trio are all injury replacements for the squad to face Group E’s bottom team the Seychelles in a double-header over the next five days, starting at Soccer City on Saturday 3pm. 

Lorch knows expectations are for South Africa to beat the island part-timers twice to make sure that they put themselves in the best position to finish in the top two and book their place to the Cameroon final at the end of the season. 

And the Orlando Pirates winger is ready to take his chance after coming to the squad after club teammate Vincent Pule was ruled out with injury. 

The 25-year-old says: “Home games are always crucial.

“This is where we have to make sure that we collect maximum points. That will help ease the pressure when we go to play against them in their own backyard. 

“On the other hand, it is also crucial not to think too far ahead of ourselves. 

“We will worry about the second leg when we travel there.”

Gift Links. Photo: MUZI NTOMBELA/BACKPAGEPIX

City’s 19-year-old Links is the newest addition to the group after Mamelodi Sundowns star Sibusiso Vilakazi ruptured his Achilles tendon in Wednesday’s practice match against SuperSport United. 

And while coach Stuart Baxter acknowledges the disruptions to their preparations, he is still excited to see what his new manne can do. 

He says: “I can’t say this is a better squad, but I can say it is different and it is exciting.

“I think you can see we are pushing the mark towards the younger players, the talented players rather than the established players, and these established ones are going to have to help out." 

He adds: “If we play with the intensity we are showing now, the quality of the structure, then we will pick our way through [the] Seychelles.”

Selected Afcon qualifiers

Friday: Cameroon v Malawi (4.30pm), Nigeria v Libya (6.30pm), Ivory Coast v Central African Republic (7pm), Mali v Burundi (9pm), Algeria v Benin (9.45pm).

Saturday: Egypt v Swaziland (2am), DR Congo v Zimbabwe (7.30pm), Morocco v Comoros (8pm), Senegal v Sudan (9pm).

Sunday: Tunisia v Niger (2.15am), Guinea-Bissau v Zambia (6pm).

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