Poor Bafana dumped out of Chan

2014-01-19 21:17

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Hosts Bafana Bafana have been knocked out of the African Nations Championship (Chan) after a demoralising 3-1 defeat to Nigeria.

Needing only a draw tonight to qualify for the knockout stages, Bafana could not match the Super Eagles pound for pound and questions will be raised about Gordon Igesund’s future after this defeat.

Although Igesund had no clear mandate, this was a poor showing by the host nation.

It is another failure on Igesund’s CV after failing to do well in last year’s Africa Cup of Nations, which South Africa also hosted, and also failing to qualify for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

The question is: will he stay and see out his contract, which expires in June, or will he pay the price?

Bafana approached the game positively and asked a few questions early on but were stunned by Christantus Ejike’s goal in the 22nd minute.

Seven minutes later it was 2-0 after a howler Moeneeb Josephs. The Bidvest Wits goalkeeper gifted Nigeria a penalty after he brought down Fuad Salami in the box. Ifeanyi Ede converted from the spot.

The goal prompted a response from Bafana and Igesund threw in Katlego Mashego for Matthew Pattison. Mashego should have reduced the deficit on the stroke of half time but his curling shot narrowly missed the target.

Bafana again started positively in the second half when they took the game to Nigeria. They launched attack after attack but found goalkeeper Chigozie Agbin in fine form. Agbin denied Mashego a goal when he tipped over his shot.

It was Nigeria who increased their lead in the 65th minute through Ejike who beat Josephs again. Then the game degenerated into an ugly affair and referee Mohamed Benouza had to flash two quick red cards to eject Kwambe Solomon and Vuyo Mere within two minutes.

Bernard Parker pulled one back for Bafana from the penalty spot after Mashego was brought down in the box, but it was a question of too little, too late for the host nation.

Then Agbin once again came to Nigeria’s rescue with some stupendous saves late on in the game and Nigeria hung on for the victory.

The result means Nigeria still has a stronghold on Bafana as South Africa are still to beat them in an official game. This was a poor showing by the host nation as they should have done better than they gave.

Nigeria and Mali qualify from the group, after Mali’s 2-1 victory over Mozambique.

It is the end for Bafana but will it be the end for Igesund?

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