Mark Gleeson

Bafana deserved some luck

2011-03-28 07:23
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
Mark Gleeson

South African sport deserves a little luck and it came in a decent dollop on Saturday night, courtesy of Katlego Mphela.

Bafana Bafana were just seconds from a disappointing result against Egypt on Saturday night, facing probable eventual elimination from the African Nations Cup qualifying contest and some serious question marks over the future of coach Pitso Mosimane, before the Mamelodi Sundowns striker popped up to score a dramatic winner.

It was literally the last kick of the game that saw South Africa gain a dramatic win, turning a sullen crowd into a celebratory mass.

What relief, because it now means Bafana Bafana are very much masters of their own destiny in the qualification battle and it is a massive psychological boost for a talented, yet at times overwhelmed, group of players.

Mphela had a poor touch throughout the game and looked a candidate to come off in the second half. But Mosimane persisted when perhaps he might have tempted to bring on Davide Somma or, even better, Thulani Serero.

But that Mphela stayed on proved a good call from the coach, who has long expressed his faith in the ability of the Sundowns striker and who was instrumental in getting Mphela’s career back on track after his recent histrionics about a move overseas.

Mphela repaid the coach by essentially saving his job with that great 93rd minute goal!

Egypt were desperately unlucky. Itumeleng Khune was the busier of the two goalkeepers and there were two set-piece situations where the Pharaohs could have scored.

They were cagey in the beginning, beaten in the midfield battle but easily soaking up attempts at attack by the home side. In the second half Egypt went for it, looking to win the game. Their players were physically tough, mentally strong and always dangerous. You can see why they have ruled African football for some time now.

Bafana Bafana were too respectful in the beginning. Mosimane called it “playing quietly”. Steven Pienaar was obviously still battling with his injury problems, as was the case with Simphiwe Tshabalala. But Pienaar was prepared to battle while Tshabalala ducked out of too many challenges. He has never been one for the heat of the kitchen.

Morgan Gould was a colossus in defence but the coach also singled out Bongani Khumalo, even though the latter made two Aaron Mokoena-type mistakes which Egypt should, but failed to, punish.

Thanduyise Khuboni proved again how he will develop into a top player but his distribution out of midfield is too slow.

This will go down as one of the great Bafana matches but only because of the result and a single kick at the end of the game. It was certainly far from a decent performance.

But luck is one of the key elements of football, as coaches like to tell us, and South Africa had a visit from the lady on Saturday. Hopefully she comes around more often.

Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    bafana  |  mark gleeson
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
39 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Which sporting event are you most looking forward to in 2015?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

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