Eish, Bafana!

2014-05-30 12:13

New Zealand 0

South Africa 0

Lacklustre!

That sums up Bafana Bafana’s performance in this friendly against a team ranked 111 in the world following a somewhat promising showing against 59th-ranked Australia on Monday.

In fact, the fact that the crowd cheered loudly when it was announced that there were 9 266 of them inside the stadium, tells you just how exciting the night (this morning, South African time) was.

Hopes were high that the boys would build from their earlier confidence-boosting performance, but the opposite happened.

A promising start that saw Tokelo Rantie latch on to a through ball in the first minute only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Glen Moss, saw the match deteriorate into a boring kick-about.

Bafana launched the most attacks but it was The All Whites who looked dangerous when on the offensive. Despite their dominance, it took all of 27 minutes for the visitors to get their first corner kick of the match.

They wasted the set-piece exchange taking a short corner when some players had made an effort to run into the box. This was going to be the pattern for the next three corner kicks that followed in this stanza.

It was from one of these that New Zealand broke, launched a dangerous counter-attack in the 41st minute that ended with Ryan Thomas having the ball nicked from his toe just as he was about to pull the trigger.

Before this, top star Marco Rojas, who plies his trade with Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart in Germany, pulled his shot wide in the 26th minute following some neat passes by the home side.

Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who has been very shy to take pot-shots at goal on this tour, rattled the crossbar with a thunderous effort in the 31st minute only for the ricochet to find Thuso Phala in an offside position.

The latter made a good dash towards goal, slicing through a few players five minutes before recess, but his shot was deflected for a corner kick, which was again wasted.

The goalless half-time scoreline was no surprise as South Africa’s attack was as sharp as the bite of a toothless bulldog while New Zealand didn’t create sufficient chances to score.

Every once in a while when they did, Ronwen Williams came out from under his beach umbrella – pitched between the poles – to pull a brilliant save.

Besides the players, Australian referee Jarred Gillett must have had the easiest payday of his career.

If the first half was boring. The second was no different and was made worse by the several stops as New Zealand introduced six substitutes, with Igesund replying with three.

In the 90th minute, New Zealand coach Neil Emblen introduced goalkeeper Tamati Williams for captain Moss. This meant that both goalkeepers on the field at that time had the second name Williams.

Once more, Thulani Serero was singled out for rash tackles with both Michael Boxall (84th) and Tim Payne (deep in stoppage time) making it into the referees’ book for roughing up the same player.

» S’Busiso Mseleku is in New Zealand courtesy of Safa

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