Bafana claim emphatic win
Katlego Mphela (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Katlego Mphela scored a brace as Bafana Bafana made an easy meal of a poor Burkina Faso side, beating them 3-0 in their international friendly at Coca-Cola on Wednesday night.
Mphela opened the scoring in the 14th minute with an inch-perfect free-kick taken outside the box that gave no chance to a diving Germain Sanou in the Burkinabe goal.
Stand-in captain Siphiwe Tshabalala got the team's second five minutes later in what was a better performance from the player after a recent slump.
Tshabalala calmly slotted in after being well set up by a chest trap from fellow midfielder Daylon Claasen.
With South Africa taking a 2-0 lead into the half-time break, Mphela netted the final goal of the evening in the 52nd minute, finishing off a pass from shadow striking partner Thulani Serero.
Bafana ensured they were solid in all departments, despite playing in front of a small crowd - not more than 10 000 - against mediocre opponents.
The visitors, ranked fourth in Africa, three places ahead of their hosts, had faced some drama at their camp the night before the match.
Burkina Faso had only 10 players in South Africa on the eve of the game, as most of their European-based stars did not arrive for an assortment of reasons.
Even with some players arriving on the morning of the match, Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte had only 16 players unavailable, including two goalkeepers.
They were not expected to be in top condition and South Africa took advantage of the lack of harmony and rhythm from the West Africans by going on the offensive from the onset.
Wingback Siboniso Gaxa raced down the right channel to fire a shot from a distance that needed Sanou to tip over the bar.
Central defender Siyabonga Sangweni also found himself with a scoring opportunity as he out-jumped the lanky Burkinabe defenders, only for his glancing header to go narrowly wide of goal from a corner kick.
Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane had given first starts to Claasen and Serero alongside Mphela, and both showed some good touches, with Claasen in particular displaying fine form.
Mphela, the country's leading forward, looked sharp and was impressive as he bustled with the physically strong opponents for possession.
Bafana keeper Itumeleng Khune was not called upon in the first 45 minutes, but he was awake when the visitors pressed forward for the first time in the match after the hour mark.
First he saved midfielder Djakaridja Kone's ambitious shot from outside the box, and then another on the edge from substitute Adama Plange Nii.
South Africa lost momentum in the latter stages of the second half as Mosimane gave substitutes Happy Jele, Bernard Parker, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Tlou Segolela some game time in a national jersey.
Bafana travel to Niger for a Group B Africa Cup of Nations qualifier next month.