Bafana, Japan in stalemate

2009-11-14 18:17

Port Elizabeth - Bafana Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira’s new era with the South African national side got off to a good start when a new-look Bafana held highly rated Japan to a hard fought 0-0 draw in a friendly international clash watched by 44 000 enthusiastic fans at the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

Parreira, who replaced fellow countryman Joel Santana last month, had an immediate effect. While there were a lot of bad mistakes made by Bafana this was by far their gutsiest performance since reaching the semifinals of the Confederations Cup in June.

Bafana showed fight and, as promised by skipper Aaron Mokoena, the players were prepared to put their bodies on the line to get a result against a Japanese side that have already qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa next June.

The draw ended a series of poor defeats under Santana and Bafana go into Tuesday’s friendly against Jamaica in Bloemfontein with a lot of confidence and morale restored.

There is still a hard road ahead for Bafana and Parreira, but at least they started on a positive note against the Blue Samurai.

South Africa battled to get into the match due to a lot of pressure from the kick-off by Japan, ranked 40th in the world, who showed they were not in the Windy City for a holiday camp.

The South Africans were under a lot of pressure against the more composed and better organised Japanese side who had control of the opening 25 minutes.

Parreira persisted with the two defensive midfielders, Macbeth Sibaya and the out of form Kagisho Dikgacoi, his predecessor Joel Santana so loved.

That forced both strikers Benni McCarthy and Katlego Mphela to come deep to get the ball during the opening half an hour.

But Parreira was determined that Bafana keep their shape and kill the visitors' threat in the midfield where Japan looked dangerous when going forward.

But all credit to Parreira who made three bold substitutions in the 68th minute when he took off ineffective playmaker Teko Modise, replaced by Elrio van Heerden, Dikgacoi, for Reneilwe Letsholonyane, and the hard working Siphiwe Tshabalala, given a rest a rest for speedy SuperSport United left wing Daine Klate.

Bafana keeper Moeneeb Josephs pulled off a stunning save in the 11th minute to deny Makoto Hasebe an opening goal. The Wolfsburg midfield star created an opening and let fly with a vicious 20-metre rocket that the Orlando Pirates star did brilliantly to fist over his crossbar.

Japan’s Shinji Okazaki almost punished the hesitant Bafana back four in the 16th minute when he found himself in space and shaved the upright with a great shot that had Josephs at full stretch and that inched past the post.

But as the game progressed, so did the confidence of the near capacity crowd who willed on the hosts. Tshabalala forced Blue Samurai goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima to turn his pile driver in the 30th minute for a corner.

Tshabalala was having a good game on the wing and was worrying the Japanese defenders with his pace and skill down the left flank, while Bafana at that stage were starting to find their feet after a nervous start, and the near capacity crowd were loving it.

Bafana’s right back, Belgium-based Anele Ngcongca, also started to shine and laid off a fabulous ball to Mphela who, with McCarthy unmarked and in a better position, decided to go for glory and blasted over the upright in the 38th minute.

Japan started the second half with the same determination as they did the first. But after weathering the storm South Africa started putting the Blue Samurai defence under pressure.

Then for some reason, when Bafana were on attack in the 56ht minute and looking for an opening, defender Morgan Gould, who was up supporting his attack, played back the ball and ruined what was a promising move. That cautious move from Gould was certainly not on Parreira’s halftime script or team talk.

It underlined again how desperate South Africa were to defend a 0-0 scoreline. But they refused to buckle and started playing with a lot more confidence in the second half, taking the game to their more experienced and higher ranked opponents.

And another top drawer save by Josephs from an Okazaki shot denied Japan a goal in the 79th minute as the visitors mounted another dangerous attack.

Bafana finished stronger and had Japan under pressure during the lengthy five minutes optional time that Angolan referee Romvaldo Baltazar somehow found to play.


  • BAPS - 2009-11-14 18:22

    Still more or less the same game play as during Santana and even during Stuart Baxter. Bafana should place the following as area that need urgent attention 1) Speed and urgency - Even Japan with no skill and flare had only speed as their prime weapon 2) Work Rate - Bafana players were basically loitering around the field when not in possesion 3) Creativity - Find ways to penetrate the opposition and with aggression and confidence. 4) Do not field players that are not hepling/liabilities for a given game (McCarthy,Modise,Masilela,Tshabalala) A lot of work needs to be done. But the last 20 minutes were positive

  • mahomed - 2009-11-14 19:10

    bafana were playing with 10 players UNTIL Benni McCarthy was replaced THEN ONLY did bafana show some co-ordination in attack and possibly scoring a goal! The rest of the game ALL BENNI did was WALK in the park and WAIT for a BALL to land on his foot and THEN ALSO lost possession.... Benni refused to WORK to get the BALL...... i say BENCH HIM!!!!

  • Mpondz - 2009-11-14 19:56

    Teko Modise and Dikgacoi are desperately out of form. While the Bafana strikers have talked up a lot, they cannot do anything if they don't receive enough service from the midfield. Bafana lacked that creativity and authority in the midfield. In Pienaar's absence, I'd have lilked to see Daylon Classen make his debut. Its time SA soccer backs its youngsters. 25-28 year old players are not youngsters in football

  • brandon - 2009-11-14 20:05

    HAHAHA!!!...Bafana Bafana must play a school REGAE BOYZ is gonna dribble past dem 3-0....Go REGAE BOYZ!!! ONE LOVE...

  • alec - 2009-11-14 20:08

    Brilliant Bafana! You are the best team in the world. No other country stands a chance if you play like today.

  • Worried fan - 2009-11-14 20:11

    Like I said b4 the game that I will only depend on the report or the streaming to get updates..So far I am relieved and wish BB good luck on Tuesday.I will keep supporting from a distance.I guess they played well...They just have to roll on Jamaicans....gud luck to BB again

  • Lawrence Sambani - 2009-11-14 20:26

    even though benni was out of form it is very important to have him in the squad.this will make the defenders to concentrate on him while the other players are taking their chances.

  • Johnno - 2009-11-14 21:16

    Teko Modise is utterly useless and the most overrated player in SA!!

  • Realist - 2009-11-14 21:23

    The coach was only one goal away of being shit the eyes of the stupid South Africans. Time will show how pathetic Bafana players are.

  • So Not Cool - 2009-11-14 22:54

    Realist, Alec,Brandon and similar clowns. Do you guys not get it? There is no real point in taking the time to post a comment only to make it the most useless. Its like eating a lot of food and thinking wow, I have an idea...I will wait for when everyone is in the room and will release a fart.YEAH. Notice how all other comments are about the actual game and people are critising with depth and insight rather that moronic one liners.

  • RONNIE - 2009-11-15 09:13

    to draw 0 - 0 against japan is not being the best team in the world but it is a improvement if they can now start winning just maybe we will go to the second round but im a south african and boys keep it up eventaily you will get there

  • Mickey - 2009-11-15 10:15

    Great to see a capacity crowd in trying times for Bafana, which was probably one of the biggest contributers to the guys salvaging a draw from a clearly more superior Japanese outfit. Although 'problem child' Benni is still looking puffy, his contibution went beyond just being the key target man judging from his communication and mentorship in the partnership with Mphela. Modise is not out of form, his out of his depth and his continued selection in the starting 11 is not helping him improve his game. We need to be more imposing going forward, we run out ideas in the final third of the field. Moneeb had great match but needs defender with aerial power (Booth) as he's looking unsure with crosses. Good luck to the boys.

  • Pro SA Sport - 2009-11-15 11:45

    Realist, Brandon, Alec and similar clowns. Do you guys not get it? There is no real point in taking the time to post a comment only to make it the most useless. Its like eating a lot of food and thinking wow, I have an idea...I will wait for when everyone is in the room and will release a fart.YEAH. Notice how all other comments are about the actual game and people are critising with depth and insight rather that moronic one liners.

  • Dlobeni - 2009-11-15 11:46

    Bafana did well, although one might say we were very defensive in the first half. The Japanese did not give us room to play, as they made sure that they are they when a BB player receive a ball. In the 2nd half the BB coach made brilliant changes, taking out Modise, McCarthy, Dikgacoi and Shabalala. Of the four I think Shabalala was doing well. The introduction of Netsholonyane, Klate made a huge change and gave bafana attacking spirit. we really missed Pienaar, I hope he recovers soon. I hope Mokoena did not injur him deliberatell to keep in order to keep the captaincy. It is very clear to me that Pienaar deserves the armband, he plays like BB is his team.

  • navajojo - 2009-11-15 13:52

    Bennie is a quality and an experienced striker. Bafana strikers will learn a lot from him as he also learned from the likes of Phil Masinga, Mark Williams, etc. And don`t forget that the bafana strikers are not midfielders, they need support from that bunch of defenders you call midfielders.

  • Bafana Fan - 2009-11-15 21:20

    Mahomed I am afraid your request is going to fall on deaf ears! Benni is the honey in the centre and all the others are the bees around him. If this is an unfit Benni wait till you see a fit Benni, no wonder he is such a great striker. A big thumbs -up to the great support by the Bafana fans at the match!

  • Roberto - 2009-11-16 12:20

    Gud start for Carlos and the boys. Japan is a world class tem and they have beaten big teams. Our defence were tight and we were organized. What Carlos should do with the next game is to start with Kermit and mphela. Also Daine Klate and Claasen should also get his chance we need to move forward. Kermit will do well to bring in the goals. Benni always did gud as a substitute

  • the fan - 2009-11-16 18:53

    I drove from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. 8 hours on the road with my collagues. I was happy and sad with what I saw. I saw a united nation behing their team, we sang and supported Bafana all the way. we urged them forward many a times. what made me sad was the lack of commitment from the players, Benni- why the hell do we want him back again? someone remind me please. i'm sure his fat tummy was required by the boks on friday as we saw when he went for two defenders when the ball was crossed or passed to him. I was sad about that, I'm planning to go to Bloemfontein, I only ask that the coach leaves Benni and Teko out, they are only there for what they did in the past, not what they are doing now

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