Boring Bafana

2012-06-09 20:03

This is a disaster!

Ten games without a victory is not a good statistic. Another game, another draw! How much worse can it get?

Bafana’s 2014 Fifa World Cup qualification hopes took another serious knock when they played to yet another draw against Botswana. They have only four qualifying games left to play and the road ahead does not look rosy.

If Bafana cannot beat the likes of Botswana and Ethiopia, then who on earth are they capable of beating? Pitso Mosimane may be gone, but Bafana’s problems are far from over.

With only 12 more points to play for, it will take something drastic to change Bafana’s fortunes if they are to make it to the next round of qualifiers.

After losing their earlier game away to Central African Republic last weekend, a draw was a good result for Botswana. They celebrated at the final whistle as if they had won the game. But a draw against Bafana will always seem like a victory for the home side. In fact, they gave as much as they got and could have won it too; they had their chances.

Caretaker coach Steve Komphela had hoped for a better start so as to enhance his chances of assuming the team on a permanent basis. Safa head honchos president Kirsten Nematandani and his two deputies, Mandla Mazibuko and Danny Jordaan, were in attendance but left disappointed.

Bafana’s performance was even worse than prior matches: for the first time in many games, Bafana looked vulnerable at the back and cracked under pressure. Warning signs that Gould and company were in for a torrid afternoon emerged as early as the fourth minute when Joel Mogorosi out-jumped everybody only for his header to hit the crossbar. Bafana have always taken pride in their solid defence, but it proved very fragile yesterday.

The game kicked off like a Formula 1 Grand Prix, with both teams frantically searching for an early goal. After the initial Mogorosi scare, Bafana took control of the game and had a few attempts at goal – but Tshabalala should have done better in the 12th minute when he was put through by Nomvethe, only to misread the pass.

Two minutes later, Bafana were 1-0 up thanks to Gould’s header from a Steven Pienaar corner kick.

Bafana should have increased their lead minutes later, but Katlego Mphela shot wide. Mphela was again guilty
of missing an inviting chance in the 20th minute and this let-off gave the home side a chance to regroup.

With the crowd urging them on, the Zebras responded positively and forced Bafana on to the back foot, mostly with good crosses.

The equaliser duly arrived in the 37th minute when Ofentse Nato capitalised on some questionable defending in the box to slot home from a rebound.

New coach Komphela made two changes to the team that started against Ethiopia last weekend, with Punch Masenamela taking over from Tsepo Masilela at left back and Oupa Manyisa getting his first starting berth. But Masenamela did not give the same strong performance he did against Ethiopia and was found wanting defensively. He was eventually replaced by Mzikayise Mashaba, who was equally unconvincing on debut.

Komphela also gave Tokelo Rantie his first cap.

This was supposed to be the start of a new chapter for the team after a week of turmoil that saw Mosimane being sacked. But this showing does not augur well. The road ahead, like that Botswana pitch, looks bumpy.

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