Bafana Bafana

Bafana batters Guinea-Bissau

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BATTLE:  Bafana Bafana’s Ramahlwe Mphahlele is kicked by Francisco Silva Junior of Guinea-Bissau.  (Anesh Debiky, Gallo Images)
BATTLE: Bafana Bafana’s Ramahlwe Mphahlele is kicked by Francisco Silva Junior of Guinea-Bissau. (Anesh Debiky, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - If what Bafana Bafana displayed here on Saturday is anything to go by, the future looks bright for South African football.

But it is too early to pass judgment as there is a long, long way to go, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday's victory took Bafana to 11 unbeaten games.

Front of goals

If the new coach was watching from the stands or somewhere else (speculation was that Frenchman Hervé Renard will be revealed as the new man), he would have taken a few notes on the proceedings.

Two areas that Bafana will need to work on is how they deal with crosses and set pieces, as well as with upfront action.

They looked vulnerable at the back when Guinea attacked from the flanks – even their goal came from one of those crosses.

Bafana also looked flat in front of goals as they were let down by indecisiveness and poor decision-making.

They did not trouble the visiting goalkeeper Papa Massé Fall in the first half until they were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute.

They need to be ruthless in front of goals, particularly when they are playing teams such as Guinea-Bissau, which did not offer too much until late into the game, when they caused a few problems.

Entertaining

But, overall, there were some glimpses of brilliance from the team with some neat passes and well-found spaces behind the west African defence.

Kamohelo Mokotjo looked too eager to impress following his Dutch citizenship debacle.

And impressive he was as he controlled the proceedings from the middle of the park with some accurate passes.

He showed South Africans what they missed, although he tried too hard at times.

Bafana were easy on the eye to watch as they were enterprising and entertaining.

Young Percy Tau did not disappoint when he came off the bench and scored on his debut just a few minutes after coming on.

Tau showed his class when he combined with his former Mamelodi Sundowns team-mate Keagan Dolly to put Bafana 2-0 ahead.

But Bafana’s frailties at the back were exposed when substitute Aldair Baldé pulled one back after the South Africans failed to deal with Toni Silva’s cross.

Easy game

But Bafana had the last laugh when Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe awarded them a second penalty in the dying minutes and Andile Jali converted from the spot.

Except for the returning Mokotjo and Kermit Erasmus, caretaker coach Owen Da Gama stuck with the tried and tested players as he did not want to overhaul the team. But there was no need for a complete overhaul as the team has been doing well.

Mokotjo and Erasmus showed their class and, based on their performances, they should be retained in the team.

Besides the two penalties that Bafana got, it was an easy game that the home side should have won a little more convincingly.

After Fifa banned Ghana official Joseph Lamptey recently for his “unlawful” handling of the Bafana game against Senegal in November, any penalty awarded to Bafana is received with a pinch of salt.

It is worse if there are two – as Bafana were awarded here – but they were legitimate ones.

There were lot of positives from this game and hopefully Bafana learnt a thing or two. However, they should not get carried away because this was just a friendly game.

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