Bafana: Déjà vu

2015-01-25 15:00

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Bafana need to win!

The South African senior national team is in a tight spot after failing to win its opening two games of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and will need a miracle to advance to the knockout stages.

Their chances of qualifying are hanging by a thread.

Bafana, who have won only three out of 19 Afcon matches in six finals since 2002, will need to beat the Black Stars of Ghana on Tuesday and hope for a favourable result in the other Group C match between Senegal and Algeria.

The best case scenario for Bafana is for Senegal to beat Algeria. This means that South Africa will get through, provided they beat Ghana.

However, if Algeria beats Senegal, and Bafana secures a win over Ghana, then the goal difference between our boys and the Teranga Lions will be the deciding factor.

A draw between Senegal and Algeria will leave Bafana out of the competition, whatever the result of the match against Ghana.

The group of death has lived up to its pre-tournament billing, with no team yet guaranteed a place in the knockout stages.

Senegal top the group with four points, one point clear of Algeria and Ghana, with Bafana at the bottom with a single point.

For Bafana, it has been the same script with a different cast.

After qualifying for the tournament without losing a match, they find themselves at the start of the continental showcase preparing to pack their bags and head home.

They have shown signs of improvement, playing with more vigour and purpose, but they are still making things difficult for themselves.

Bafana should have disposed of Algeria in the opening game. They took the lead against Algeria but lost 3-1. They also scored first before Senegal levelled matters on Friday.

Bafana must learn to hold on to their advantage once they get ahead.

Their main undoing is in front of the goal.

They are not ruthless and coach Shakes Mashaba noted that scoring goals was still his biggest nightmare.

With trusted striker Tokelo Rantie missing the net, it’s hard to see where the goals will come from.

“It is a work in progress and we will get it right. The

good thing is that we are creating chances and in the two games we have played so far, we have been brilliant, bar scoring goals.

“One team is going to pay dearly because the day we score, it won’t be less than five goals,” said Mashaba.

He said Bafana have shown that they can compete against the best on the continent and asked for patience.

Mashaba was also not happy with the many fouls his players committed in their own half, putting the team under unnecessary pressure.

“The types of fouls we committed could be avoided as most are pushing and shoving and we need to lessen them.

“Modern trends of football require players to defend smartly and never give fouls on the edge of the box because that gives the opposition a chance,” he said.

Mashaba is still optimistic about progressing in the tournament but is acutely aware that they have a mountain to climb on Tuesday.

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