Bafana Bafana

Player ratings: Bafana's De Reuck, Mokoena show promise as Zimbabwe keep Percy Tau quiet

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Rushine De Reuck (Gallo Images)
Rushine De Reuck (Gallo Images)

Bafana Bafana will return to South Africa after a goalless draw against Zimbabwe in their opening 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup qualifier on Friday.

There were quality moments in what was head coach Hugo Broos's first glance at his side, while a man-of-the-match performance by Zimbabwe goalkeeper Talbert Shumba - he gloved away three brilliant chances by the visitors - kept South Africa's attack at bay.

There is plenty of work to be done for Broos and Bafana Bafana will next entertain Ghana at FNB Stadium on Monday (18:00).

Here is how we rated the Bafana players on Friday:

Ronwen Williams: 6.5

Now that he is wearing the captain's armband, Williams was at his best in Harare as he shouted instructions to his defence to hold a clean sheet. He was only called upon once in the entire match, when saving a goal-bound strike from Khama Billiat.

Thapelo Morena: 5

It would have been good to see the Mamelodi Sundowns defender push forward in attack a bit more, and his link-up play with Luther Singh needs work. That could have resulted in more goal scoring opportunities for Bafana.

Rushine de Reuck: 6.5

The 25-year-old is fresh from his move to Sundowns and is already claiming a regular starting berth at the PSL champions. Broos seems to think he is quality and it showed today. His pace and strength in defence will only get better with more minutes on the field.

Siyanda Xulu: 6

His performance showed that a bit of experience, along with young talent, can be beneficial for the national team. Xulu excelled next to De Reuck and, hopefully, it could be the start of a long defensive partnership, especially with sterner tests awaiting Bafana in future.

Nyiko Mobbie: 5

Much like Morena, Mobbie, along with Gift Links, could not penetrate Zimbabwe's defence. The 26-year-old, a right-back by trade, was sometimes found out of position.

Mothobi Mvala: 5

There were some moments for the quick, counter-attacking midfielder, but Mvala could not get the Bafana forwards involved.

Teboho Mokoena: 6

Mokoena nearly scored a world-class goal, with a curling right-foot effort, but Shumba was on song between the posts for Zimbabwe. He will get another start on Monday against Ghana, where he will come up against tougher players.

Gift Links: 5

His crossing was questionable throughout the match, but Links comes with a lot of expectation to succeed in Bafana colours. However, he is yet to show what he can do for the national team.

Percy Tau: 5.5

Tau showed spark and nearly scored, but for Shumba's goalkeeping heroics. However, it was not enough to help Bafana in attack, which could be down to the slow service from midfield. Tau will get better and, with more playing time expected at his new club Al Ahly, sooner or later, the 27-year-old will be scoring and assisting goals again.

Luther Singh: 5

He is a quality forward, but seemed out of sorts against Zimbabwe - in perhaps not his favourite position out wide. Broos will continue to tinker with his selection and, whether Singh will get a chance to be central to Bafana's attack, where he is more comfortable, will be up for debate.

Evidence Makgopa: 6

It is surprising that he was not snapped up before the transfer deadline, but the Baroka FC forward is a handful. Only 21, but he showed promise during the Cosafa Cup. To justify his call-up, Makgopa came close to scoring, but the more minutes he gets to play alongside regular players in the Bafana camp, the better he will become.

Stand-out substitute:

Bongokuhle Hlongwane: 6

He got the better of the Zimbabwean defence, but only for Shumba to shut down his goal-bound effort. At 21, his chances of getting better in front of goal is up to the forward, but he showed enough promise to merit an opportunity in the squad.

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