Bafana bang in the goals

2010-05-17 00:00

THE opposition may have been no great shakes, but Bafana Bafana’s 4-0 thrashing of an over-awed Thailand at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit yesterday offered plenty of encouraging signs that the team are finally on track for the 2010 World Cup.

South Africa open the tournament on June 11 at Soccer City against Mexico. And the signs yesterday were that the central Americans could be in for a tough outing against the World Cup hosts.

After some decent, though not particularly inspiring, performances in the internationals during their training camps in Brazil and Germany, the return to home soil and the atmosphere in the opening game of Mbombela Stadium had the desired effect on Bafana.

Throw in some of their foreign-based stars who are still returning from Europe and about 60 000 fans in the opener at Soccer City, and you’ve got the ingredients for a difficult game for Mexico.

Bernard Parker was one of the few overseas-based players fielded yesterday, and he made a scoring return to Bafana after an extended absence, coming off the bench.

Captain Aaron Mokoena, probably Portsmouth’s best player in their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final, Steven Pienaar, Tsepo Masilela, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Macbeth Sibaya must all still be added and will get runs in Bafana’s three remaining warm-ups against Bulgaria (May 24), Columbia (May 27) and Denmark (June 5).

West Ham’s Benni McCarthy, who has come under the almost exclusive attention of Bafana fitness trainer Francesco Gonzalez since joining the squad, was on the bench yesterday, but did not get a run.

South Africa’s emerging striker, Katlego Mphela — a reported target of Birmingham — returned to scoring form with a brace yesterday.

“I haven’t had any goals for a while now and to score before the World Cup was important,” the striker said.

“The supporters gave us a lot of backing today and we played well. We’ll see how the next game goes [against Bulgaria], which is at Soccer City. With these fans I don’t think anyone is going to stop us.”

Surprise Moriri, whom Parreira enjoyed playing at shadow striker during his first stint in charge of the team, looked impressive, as did midfielder Teko Modise, who has struggled with form and fitness.

Ahead of the Confederations Cup in June last year, the South Africans had a three-week training camp and looked in superb condition. For the World Cup they will have had the two month-long camps in Brazil plus this current build-up, which includes four friendlies.

Already yesterday, Bafana looked sharper than they have in months. The Thais may only be ranked 105th, but their last five international results make for interesting reading.

While they have only won one of those games, 1-0 against Singapore, they have drawn against Jordan and defeats against Poland (3-1), Denmark (3-0) and Iran (1-0) were no complete walk-overs for the team coached by former Manchester United great Bryan Robson.

Bafana took advantage of some loose defending by the Thais to score three quick goals between the 22nd and 33rd minutes, starting with Siphiwe Tshabalala’s free-kick curled through the visitors’ wall.

In the 30th minute, Mphela’s first goal was scored, somewhat fortunately as the striker clearly handled the ball while bundling Tshabalala’s corner across the line. Three minutes later the striker scored a more legitimate effort, running onto Modise’s superb through-ball before slotting home.

To even out Mphela’s earlier handball, striker Siyabonga Nomvete had a legitimate goal disallowed for offside in the 80th minute. In the 90th, SA did get their deserved fourth when Parker cantered through on to another finely weighted through-ball from Modise and finished coolly.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.