End of Bafana and Igesund (maybe)

2013-09-08 14:01

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If this was coach’s swan song, it was a great way to go.

It was not meant to be, as South Africa’s World Cup fate was finally sealed, albeit away in Congo-Brazzaville.

Bafana did what they were required to do – win over Botswana, but South Africans were asking too much from the Central African Republic (CAR), which was required to beat or draw against Ethiopia for Bafana to advance to the final round of the qualifiers.

They were given a glimmer of hope when the CAR went into the break leading 1-0, but joy soon turned to sorrow as Ethiopia bounced back in the second half.

But if truth be told, Ethiopia were the better team in the group and deserved to proceed, although they made things difficult for themselves, which resulted in them being docked three points by Fifa for fielding an eligible player.

But despite failing to qualify for the 2014 showpiece, it could be the dawn of a new Era(smus) for Bafana.

While the biggest negative was missing out on the trip to Brazil, there were a whole lot more positives in one match than there had been in Gordon Igesund’s entire first year at the helm.

Kermit Erasmus returned to the team, was included in the starting line-up and then obliged with the opening goal.

Then, Dean Furman not only gave a man-of-the-match performance, but capped it with a goal.

Next, Bernard Parker netted a brace that saw him registering an impressive five goals in six World Cup qualifiers.

And finally, Igesund threw in a number of youngsters – Bongani Zungu, Andile Jali and Daine Klate – who could go on to ensure that the future of Bafana is promising.

With Bafana scoring four goals for the first time under Igesund – whose tenure reached a full year on the eve of the clash against the Zebras – it would seem the building blocks are already in place for Bafana to start again – for the umpteenth time, though.

Now the big question is whether Igesund will continue as Bafana coach after failing to deliver on the two mandates given to him by his employers.

He failed to qualify for the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations when Bafana fell short in the quarterfinals and Bafana’s failure to qualify for the last round of the World Cup qualifiers means Igesund also failed in his second, far more important, quest.

So now the big question is: Will the SA Football Association have both a new president and a new coach?

But Bafana can hold their heads high after this performance, as it will go a long way to restoring the pride of the nation.

They saved their best for last as they ran riot against the Zebras.

But the day belonged to Furman, who made his Bafana debut on the same day a year ago against Brazil.

Furman was the toast of the team as he once again bossed the midfield and worked his socks off.

Since earning his first cap, Furman has never put a foot wrong and it was no different yesterday as he capped his yearlong spell with a well-taken goal on the stroke of half-time.

Igesund got his tactics right as he took the game to the visitors and the move paid off.

Key moments

7th minute: Kagisho Dikgacoi twice denied by Botswana goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe with a double save, but it sets the pace of the game as Bafana attacked relentlessly.

28th minute: Kermit Erasmus rose up to head home Bafana opener after Parker flicked Tshabalala’s corner.

45th minute: Man of the match Dean Furman celebrated a year in the team with his first goal in Bafana colours.

At this stage the Zebras had no answers for the hosts, who threw everything at the visitors.

73rd minute: Botswana pulled one back through Jerome Ramatlhakwane and silenced the vociferous crowd, but that seemed to have been the wake-up call Bafana needed to get back into the game after going into slumberland.

83rd minute: Parker put the game beyond Botswana’s reach with a well-taken free kick.

87th minute: Daine Klate won a

penalty with his first touch after he was brought down inside the box. This gave Parker the chance to score his second of the day.

Furman’s strike against Botswana

»?Meanwhile, the Absa Premiership match between Mpumalanga Black Aces and SuperSport United scheduled for Sunday will now be played at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit and not at the Themba Senamela Stadium in Middelburg.

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