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Bafana Bafana - It's time!

12 January 2014, 14:17
Spain, world soccer champions have come and gone. While the victory was enthusiastically received by all and sundry and has given us a great sense of pride, it does little to act as a gauge for our chances in the 2014 Orange African Nations Championship starting on Saturday .If that match against Spain was played in a competitive spirit rather than a mere friendly match, we would have been declared outright favorites for this tournament.

How far have we come since the 2010 World Cup?

Gordon Igusend has instilled a great sense of belief in the players who have started to play with great determination and passion and the crowds have started to grow in all their recent outings but unfortunately that is where it stops.

We are still playing "rushed" football and continue to make " hospital and suicidal passes" resulting in loss of ball possession at the most crucial of times coupled with a goal drought.This has been a regular feature in all our games.

There are many reasons why we are failing to find the back of the net as regularly as fans would want them and all of them are resulting from poor set pieces or non existent set pieces examples of which are given below:

- the deep square is hardly ever used and it is through this set piece that oversea teams score a major number of their goals. A very good example of this set piece was illustrated in the 6 - 0 drubbing that Manchester City dished out against a hapless West Ham United during the first week in 2014. Gael Clichy cut down the left flank of the West Ham defence and from the byeline played a DEEP SQUARE pass for EdDzeko who unleashed a tremendous goal from well over the 18 box . This was Manchester City's fifth goal in that match.

- our players have no idea,whatsoever, the purpose of the semi-circle outside the 18 box because it is from this area our strikers balloon the ball over the goal mouth with such regularity that we actually applaud our players efforts instead of berating them for failing to use a set piece with accuracy.

- Our players balloon the ball over the goal mouth because of their failure to get their body over the ball before shooting . A good example of getting the body over the ball was Simpiwe Tshabalala's excellently executed goal against Mexico in the opening World Cup match against Mexico in 2010. Study the video of that goal and note the body over the ball before the shot at goal .

Sadly, in a subsequent African Cup qualifier the very same Tshabalala did the direct opposite - no body over the ball - and the ball flew over the goal mouth.

We have the best world class facilities and probably the best paid soccer players in Africa but we are still nowhere near the class that we need to win an African competition like we did many, many moons ago.

So, what are our chances in the group stages of the African Nations Championship?

We certainly have the beating of Mozambique and Mali but we may struggle against Nigeria. If we win two matches, we can then advance to the next round.

However, we need to make numerous corrections before we become African champions and then signal to the world that we may be ready for the next World Cup.

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