Bafana will have to improve dramatically
on two aspects of their game if they intend to stay longer at the 2015 Africa
Cup of Nations.
emerged from their opening match against Algeria, an encounter they could
easily had won if the Achilles heel of South African football did not cripple
two key points that coach Shakes Mashaba will have to work on before Friday's
tussle against Senegal, is the team's tendency to start their games too slow as
well as poor finishing.
Bafana have recently developed a tendency of taking too long to warm up and
thus allow the opposition to pin them to their own half and thus put themselves
under sever - sometimes unnecessary pressure.
the match against Algeria, Bafana were playing in their half for long spells of
the first half. They were just lucky that the Desert Foxes - who are ranked the
top side on the continent - did not score as they also seemed to have left
their scoring boots at Algiers.
once the South African lads had put their game together and started playing
their typical free-flowing short-passing game, that eternal problem of Mzansi
football set in.
dismally failed to convert the chances that came their way.
the shot from skipper Dean Furman that the
goalkeeper tipped with his finger-tips to thud against the woodwork, Bafana
fluffed at least three clear chances that would have seen them go into the
break at least a trio of goals to the good.
going a goal up - thanks to Thuso Phala who finished a well orchestrated move -
the national team failed to capitalise on a glorious chance to finish off their
opponents when they were awarded a
stepped Tokelo Rantie, who had already squandered a number of chances by that
time and I was surprised how he was give the task of taking that spot kick. He
blasted the ball against the crossbar thus blowing a chance to put the team
2-0 to the good.
followed was a disaster of calamitous proportions as first, defender Thulani
Hlatshwayo turned the ball into his own net, then Darren Keet managed to do
what goalkeepers are warned against from kindergarten that you must never get
beaten on your near-post before he let a shot slip under his diving body.
feels that had Bafana Bafana used their chances, the score would have reflected
something much different to this.
failure to kill the opposition while they still had the opportunities, was a
huge downfall in this match.
is high time that Bafana players learnt that scoring chances are few and far
apart in tournaments such as the Afcon, Failure to convert them, is usually
disastrous. This is because teams are well organised at this level of
to convert their chances in their second match against Senegal on Friday, might
see them in an early flight on Wednesday (January 28) after their final group match against Ghana next Tuesday, instead of January 10 that was predicted by Mashaba.
as some people have pointed out, Spain lost their opening 2010 Soccer World Cup
match but went on to win the tournament played here at our shores. Bafana
Bafana still have a chance to do better in the tournament.
they have to do now to proceed to the next round, is win their two last Group
have missed an early opportunity to pick up their first three points, but all
is not lost.
Here is hoping that the mistakes will be rectified
and we will see Bafana Bafana in the next round.
paraphrase one old wise man, great men are not those who never stumble but
those with an ability to pick themselves up after falling.
Bafana's performance at the 2015 AFCON will not be judged by their performance
and result of the first game, but their ability to get up from the hiccup.
here is hoping that they don't let this result dampen their spirits and let
them be despondent in their next game, but pick themselves up and put up a
brave and glittering performance.S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading
sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of
the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is
currently City Press Sports Editor.
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