Mashaba applauds Bafana

2011-11-28 14:58

National Under-23 coach Shakes Mashaba complimented his side after playing to a credible 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast.

Although he said the team did not play as expected he was full of praise for the team for managing to keep their more fancied opponents at bay for the better part of the match.

He said the game was not an easy one to play but said his players did well under thecircumstances.

Phumelele Bhengu had put the South Africans ahead in the 22nd minute only for Henri Griffiths to deny the Baby Bafana a victory with an 83rd minute equaliser.

But Mashaba said it was a good point.“We knew that they would come at us and we needed to be compact and not allow them space. Although at times we were porous we still managed to keep our shape.

Make no mistake Ivory Coast were too good as they kept the ball very well and wanted to penetrate us with those short passes but credit should go to our boys for maintaining the shape and soaking up the pressure,” said Mashaba.

The coach was happy with the chances the team created. “Truly speaking in terms of creating chances we were far better than them but as it always been the case we fluffed them. But these things happen in football.

There is a lot of anxiety First games of a tournament are always and uncertainties in first games of any tournament and we also suffered the stage fright.

We were not good as a team but individually we played well.”Mashaba was too critical of midfielder Thamsanqa Sangweni, who received a needless red card in the second half.

The sending off changed the complexion of the game.“I don’t think we need to condone what he did and it is not acceptable at this level or any other level for that matter. There is a lot we still need to address with our players.

He knew he had a yellow but still did what he did. Some people say he didn’t deserve the red card but I think he did deserve it.

I am going to address this behaviour in our team talk because it is a team problem and I have to talk to him in front of his team-mates so they all know how I feel and that this kind of behaviour is not right.”

Mashaba also voice his dissatisfaction with match officials.

“I am worried about the decisions that match officials give, sometimes they leave much to be desired.” Mashaba was referring to the dubious penalty decision the Moroccan referee Bouchaib Al Ahrach awarded to Ivory Coast.

Fortunately, goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo saved the spot kick by Michael Seri Jean.After the draw, Mashaba said a win against Gabon on Wednesday was not negotiable, if they wanted to remain in the tournament.

“Gabon is a must win game for us. We created a tight situation for us and the only to remain in the tournament is to beat Gabon.”

Mashaba also said they have already familiarised themselves with the tournament rules to avoid the same embarrassing situation as Bafana.

“We were having a file last night looking at all the permutations. There is no way of taking risks and have to make sure we tie all the ends,” said Mashaba.

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