Bafana fall flat

2008-09-09 00:00

PRETORIA — If Bafana head coach Joel Santana did not know it before, he now knows that he has little depth in his squad after a Bafana B team were beaten 1-0 by Guinea in an uninspiring friendly international played at Atteridgeville’s Super Stadium last night.

The game started on a sad note when a minute’s silence was held before the kick-off for former Bafana and Moroka Swallows left back Jacob Lekgetho, who passed away yesterday after an illness. Lekgetho, who also played in Russia, won 26 caps for Bafana.

Santana did keep his promise of fielding players who did not start or play in last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Nigeria.

He played a completely new side from the team that started against the Super Eagles. The players looked as if they had met just before kick-off and showed little co-ordination.

Bafana fans showed their displeasure at the national team’s failure to qualify for the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola with a massive stay- away.

About 2 000 supporters turned up for the match and the silence from the stands was deafening.

Hopefully the SA Football Association (Safa) officials will get the message that with the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup around the corner fans are fed up with mediocrity.

Fans want the real thing, and that is competitive soccer. Over 20 000 supporters turned up to watch Nigeria beat Bafana 1-0 in Port Elizabeth After this disappointing performance, things are bound to get worse unless Safa wake up.

Santana’s future is under threat. But it is not entirely his fault that Bafana are getting cold-shouldered by the fans or playing badly. It is the people who employed him who are to blame.

This is Santana’s first international job and it shows. He has one win and four defeats in seven friendly and competitive games, and for a side hosting the World Cup in less than 22 months, that is simply not good enough.

There was little passion, pace or enthusiasm from either side in a dull first 45 minutes.

Russian-based central defender Matthew Booth, making his comeback to Bafana for the first time in three years, looked solid and took no prisoners at the back. But his team-mates lacked discipline and gave away too many free kicks with reckless challenges inside their own half.

Man of the Match Booth did have the ball in the back of the Guinea net in the 12th minute, but he was ruled offside.

Then a long-range shot from Yady Camara flew in under the post, beating keeper Moeneeb Josephs in the 18th minute.

A minute later, Lance Davids had a great chance to equalise when Surprise Moriri set him up, but the Djurgardens midfielder shot over the crossbar.

Moriri wasted Bafana’s best chance on the half-hour when he shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Guinea almost made it 2-0 three minutes from the break, but Abubacar Camara’s shot skimmed the crossbar.

Santana rang the changes at halftime, bringing on Teko Modise, Siboniso Gaxa and debutant Daine Klate.

The move was a good one, with Klate just failing to nudge home a clever cross from Gaxa in the 52nd minute.

Guinea keeper Youssouf Toure managed to deny livewire Klate an equaliser in the 77th minute. Klate, the SuperSport United winger, was impressive. Who knows what he could have done had Santana started with him.

Klate brought a new dimension to the game. He added pace, urgency and skill which was lacking in the first half.

Then, to compound Bafana’s agony, Klate had a goal ruled offside in injury time.

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