Must Shakes ring the changes?

2015-01-22 10:12
Shakes Mashaba (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba should not fiddle with the team too much when they face Senegal in their next crucial Group C AFCON 2015 encounter.

Read: Bafana dismiss Algeria horror show

Some fans are crying out for Mashaba to reassemble a new starting XI but that would be a shame because Bafana Bafana did not play half as bad as one would think considering the unflattering scoreline of 3-1 in the defeat at the hands of Africa's number one ranked side.

One could say Darren Keet could have done better between the posts but the shaky-looking defence in front of him did not help the goalkeeper, the position made worse when Rivaldo Coetzee was stretchered off midway through the first half.

Darren Keet would be disappointed in his performance against Algeria, as the KV Kortrijk goalkeeper should have done better with all three goals. Keet was caught off his line in the build up to the first Algerian goal, where an unaware Thulani Hlatshwayo attempted to clear a cross but mistakenly headed the ball into his own net.

The second goal was a powerful strike aimed at Keet's near post. The 25-year-old goalkeeper knows that it is criminal for a shot-stopper to be beaten at the near post but such was the power of the strike, that Algeria had found themselves in the lead.

There is a point to be argued that play should not have developed that far if Oupa Manyisa had done his defensive work properly on Faouzi Ghoulam. The midfielder tried to rally with the attacker as he was covering for Thabo Matlaba, who on the night, was poor in defence.

The third goal just crept under Keet’s body - a sloppy mistake from the goalkeeper. All three goals leaked by the South African defence came from a lack of concentration which all started from Tokelo Rantie’s penalty miss.

The Bournemouth forward did not have a good night either. He failed to match his brilliant performance against Nigeria in AFCON's qualifying rounds, where his enthusiastic runs and hurrying of the defence led to numerous goal-scoring chances.

But should Mashaba make drastic changes? No, and this is why...

While Keet had an off-night against the Algerians, it would be wrong of the coach to offer Brilliant Khuzwayo the goalkeeping duties after one poor performance. Keet has shown several moments of brilliance, including against the Super Eagles in AFCON qualifying, until the defence folded in front of him again.

With Rivaldo Coetzee unfit to face Senegal, Kaizer Chiefs' Eric Mathoho looks likely to slot into the centre of defence alongside Thulani Hlatshwayo. The Bafana Bafana starting XI against Algeria definitely missed the lanky defender, who has had a fantastic season for both club and country.

There should be a question mark on Thabo Matlaba’s position in the starting team. The Orlando Pirates left-back has not been the best and Mashaba should ponder bringing in Matlaba's club-mate Ayanda Gcaba, for this fixture. Gcaba may be able to offer a spark that Matlaba has yet to show especially in defence.

Mashaba opted to introduce substitutes very late against against Algeria and some sections of fans were surprised to see that Bongani Ndulula was brought on instead of Bernard Parker. The Chiefs striker has in the last month and a half picked up some good form for Amakhosi and has the required experience to change the course of the match at the highest level.

Rantie will in all likelihood get the chance to right the wrongs and will no doubt be given at least another 45 minutes against Senegal. The faith Mashaba has shown in Ndulula is clear for all to see but the national team coach will probably not tinker with his formation and thus "Drogba" looks set for another substitute role. 

Tashreeq Vardiens’s Bafana starting XI: Keet, Ngcongca, Hlatshwayo, Mathoho, Gcaba, Jali, Furman, Phala, Manyisa, Vilakazi, Rantie.

Who do you think should be in Bafana Bafana’s starting XI against Senegal?


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Bafana Bafana have been drawn with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in the qualification stages for the 2017 AFCON tournament. Where will Shakes Mashaba's men finish in their pool?

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