Four points from two matches was all that Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos had targeted in opening the campaign of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers – and it was mission accomplished for the veteran Belgian on Monday night.
South Africa finally put one over Ghana in an official match with a 1-0 win courtesy of a late goal by Bongokuhle Hlongwane at FNB Stadium in Soweto.
The odd goal, however, was not a true indication of the scoreboard after the match official denied the hosts what was a legitimate goal from Percy Tau in the first half.
Where was the video assistant referee when it was needed the most?
Tau was miles onside when he made a late run into the box to connect with a cross from Nyiko Mobbie, but the headed effort just before half-time was ruled offside.
Nevertheless, the strike by Maritzburg United attacker Hlongwane in the 83rd minute proved to be enough to hand Bafana a result that will go a long way towards boosting their hopes for World Cup qualification after a few false stars in the previous World Cup qualifiers.
The result from Monday’s qualifier shot them to the top of Group G on four points following a goalless draw against Zimbabwe in Harare on Friday.
Ghana came to South Africa as the early leaders following their 1-0 win over Ethiopia on Friday.
Zimbabwe will have a chance to alter the rankings, but only if the Warriors beat Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
Ghana never really threatened Bafana as they were hoping to at least pick a point away from home. As a result, South Africa enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, coupled with half-chances that unfortunately went begging.
But it the end it was an ideal start to Broos’ tenure, who after nine matches since his appointment in May is yet to see Bafana lose and whose run has included the team’s triumph in the Cosafa Cup in June.
However, it must be noted that the Ghana match was only the second time that the Belgian occupied the bench alongside his assistants Helman Mkhalele and Cedomir Janevski, both of whom were previously ousted from camp by positive Covid-19 tests.