S'Busiso Mseleku

Consistency: That's the word for Bafana

2015-11-18 13:55
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Congratulations to Bafana Bafana - the South African senior men's soccer team for the demolition job  they did on Angola beating the 4-1 in a two-legged World Cup qualifier.

After a 3-1 annihilation of the opposition away, the South African team only managed a narrow 1-0 victory at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday night.

This should be a worrying factor for coach Shakes Mashaba as the team's home form continues to be below oar when compared to their performances away from home.

Even during their qualification for the last Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Bafana Bafana dished out glittering performances away from home but struggled on home soil.

This is one aspect of the game that Mashaba needs to deal with.

The win over Angola means that South Africa now proceeds to the African Group stages of the World Cup Qualifiers.

Here, they are one of 20 teams that will be divided into five groups of four teams each. They will then play in a round-robin and the five countries that finish on top of their Group, will represent Africa in Russia in 2018.

It now gets tougher. Unlike in the preliminary round where Bafana Bafana had the luck to draw a country from Southern Africa, competition is now tougher as there are countries from all regions of the continent.

Just as it has been in the past, this stage is dominated by West and North Africa much as we saw some shock results, particularly in the first round.

South Africa and Zambia are the only two survivors from the Southern African region.

It is indeed going to be touch for Bafana Bafana to qualify for the World Cup finals, a feat they last achieved when they made it to Korea/Japan in 2002. That's more than a decade!

They failed to make it to Germany in 2006, only made 2010 as hosts, making history by becoming the first host country to be knocked out of the first round and stumbled along the way thus failing to reach Brazil last year.

Rather than crow, as he did after the first round win against Angola when he said: "I want them (the monkeys) to sit on my back.. I don’t want them to jump off, please. Because the weight they are putting on keeps me on toes. Because I'm also saying that I've got to feed these monkeys. And how do you make them think, you deliver - that's all."

Mashaba would rather concentrate on ensuring that he qualifies the team for both the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 World Cup, which are his main mandates.

Doing this, will shut-up his detractors more than hi m having to do it himself verbally.

By the way, there is still a small monkey, if you excuse the pun of the Afcon qualifiers that will happen before the World Cup Qualifiers resume next October.

And just a reminder, Bafana Bafana had a bad start in the Afcon qualifiers having already played to a goalless draw with Gambia at home and losing 3-1 to Mauritania. They still have to face Cameroon twice.

So its early days for Mashaba to start shooting his mouth.

Finally, Good Luck to Orlando Pirates when they take on Etoile du Sahel in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final on Saturday!

The 20 African countries that have qualified for the Group stage are: Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Libya, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Mali, Algeria, Senegal, Cape Verde, Tunisia, South Africa, Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Gabon, Uganda, Zambia and Congo (Brazzaville).

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.

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 bafana  |  swc 2018  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer


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