Missed opportunity for Bafana after Congo stalemate

2014-10-15 22:20

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Bafana Bafana missed a golden opportunity to book a place at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals after they were held to a goalless draw by Congo-Brazzaville.

A win for Bafana would have guaranteed them a place in the finals as they would have had 10 points.

However they still have their destiny in their own hands as they remain top of Group A on eight points after four games, with two games remaining.

Another positive is that they are yet to concede in four matches.

Bafana need only three points to make sure of qualification and this they can do when they host Sudan next month.

They will play their final group game against reigning African champions Nigeria, also next month.

Tonight’s performance was not a polished one from Bafana as they left much to be desired, and they now have to wait for another day to make sure of a ticket to Morocco.

They lacked cohesion and could not even force a save from the Congo goalkeeper. The heavy downpour at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane did not make matters any simpler as the pitch became slippery, particularly in the second half.

But in all fairness Shakes Mashaba’s side were never in the game and credit should go to the visitors who matched them pound for pound, if not dominating the proceedings.

The only highlight of the first half was the thunder clap when the game was about 36 minutes old. There was little else to write home about.

At least the visitors had something to be cheerful about after they had an attempt at goal only for Senzo Meyiwa to parry Prince Oniangue’s header.

As for Bafana, they had nothing to offer in the opening stanza as they huffed and puffed throughout the 45 minutes.

But credit should go to the Red Devils of Congo, who had a clear game plan – to close down Bafana players as soon as they got the ball – and this ploy worked very well as they frustrated the home side.

Mashaba was left screaming on the touchline, trying to inspire his players to get into the game but it was the visitors who had the upper hand.

Bafana lacked cohesion from the middle of the park and this affected their twin strikers – Bongani Ndulula and Tokelo Rantie – who were forced to chase after through balls instead of receiving decent passes.

The second half followed the same pattern as Bafana still struggled to get their act together.

This prompted some changes from the bench as Mashaba tried to stabilise the team. In came Kermit Erasmus for the ineffective Ndulula and Oupa Manyisa for the equally quiet Thulani Serero.

But the changes did not yield the required results and the supporters who braved the wet conditions were left disappointed by how the team performed on the night.

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