Bafana: Early Brazil hiccup

2012-06-03 19:31

Cape Town - It says so much about South Africa’s shaky national soccer psyche that a mood of relief engulfed their camp as they emerged from their opening World Cup 2014 qualifier with a 1-1 home draw against well-less-than-superpower Ethiopia on Sunday.

The golden sands of Brazil in two years’ time seemed light years away - rather than just a potential couple - as they had to come from behind in the 77th minute, courtesy of Katlego Mphela’s smartly-placed shot, to at least bank a point.

“Killer” hails from just up the drag in Brits, so perhaps it was fitting that it was the striker - who earlier saw his snap header saved at point blank range - who went some way to sparing Bafana Bafana some blushes against the 138th-ranked team in the world at the Royal Bafokeng in Rustenburg.

And while it is true that home-team captain Steven Pienaar wasted a glorious chance to put away a likely decisive goal not much more than a minute later, the grim truth remained that the Ethiopians, well organised and committed, just about warranted their share of the spoils.

So much, then, for what had certainly looked on paper like Bafana’s “easiest” of the six group games they must play against a trio of opponents whom conventional wisdom suggests they really ought to have the measure of.

As Everton favourite Pienaar honestly stated afterwards, the Black Lions “came here to frustrate us and that’s what they did”.

The Everton midfielder did his own level best once more, as the primary card in the South African pack, to make a difference, even as he was subjected to usual chop-him-down or knock-him-sideways treatment from any Ethiopian who got near him.

But Bafana, collectively, were unacceptably stilted and predictable for the first two thirds of this contest, despite dominating to roughly the same degree in terms of possession.

The one saving grace, perhaps, for coach Pitso Mosimane - around whom question marks will continue to swirl after this result - was that his charges reserved their greatest vibrancy and urgency for the closing stages of the match.

Anyone seeking crumbs of optimism for the outcome may wish to suspect that, considering the fixture was their first outside of friendly combat for some time, the team would take a while to click in a game of greater consequence ... and finally did find some gusto which bodes reasonably well for the next challenge.

Pienaar rightly reckons the quick follow-up match, away to landlocked neighbours Botswana next Saturday, now amounts to a bit of a must-win if South Africa are to seize control, as they should, of their group.

They can hardly whinge that they are truly going “into Africa” for that assignment: it is a mere 275km hop from Johannesburg to Gaborone, although there will probably be a rowdy, potentially awkward derby feel to the occasion for them.

Botswana, for their part, are even more on the back foot because they lost 2-0 away to Central African Republic in their first obligation, and have reportedly been plunged into various forms of off-field turmoil since eclipsing Bafana to a spot in the most recent Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

That said, few South Africans will suggest with overwhelming confidence that Bafana are going to emphatically zap the Zebras after Sunday’s events in Rustenburg.

There was a certain sadness to seeing surprisingly healthy, colourful bunches of Ethiopian supporters celebrating their draw as if it had been a win, whilst home fans in a half-full venue (at best?) either shuffled out quickly or remained grim-faced and lifeless in their seats, contemplative hands on cheeks.

That is the tepid state of the nation in football terms, alas ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing



  • gilbert.lefakane - 2012-06-03 19:47

    Well done @least u did'nt lose!

      Faizie - 2012-06-04 04:35

      60% possession football of which 50% was played passing the the ball around in midfield. Guys the goal posts are at the far end of the pitch.

      Koos - 2012-06-04 06:52

      If you rely onmuti you are in seriuos trouble. Dingaan relied on muti and look what happened to him?

      danny.archer.589 - 2012-06-04 10:24

      @Siya...Are you serious?? They got someone to make muti?? HAHAHAHAHA

  • themba.fourtyone - 2012-06-03 19:53

    Are stil learning as Pitso always says. How cn we learn ngama player amadala

      france.bartman - 2012-06-04 00:10

      That man is wasting time .he fool us .afcon was a big joke,.the whole Africa saw us celebrating for lose.

  • siliziwem - 2012-06-03 19:55

    This pitso is clueless, he must go! His favourism is goin to drag him down!

      Dennis - 2012-06-04 07:21

      I agree but the players are just as guilty !! Time to clean house !!

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-06-03 19:56

    Bloody useless. Don't even know why these clowns represent South Africa. Like their idiotic counterparts in politics they just a waste of space to the rest of South Africa that still have some pride left in us. These morons are single-handedly ruining the reputation of African football as a whole.

      Mike.ntsh2009 - 2012-06-03 21:05

      Sean Moron (your new surname) Ranked number 2 out of how many? fewer than 10 Ranked number two out of how many? For your information there's more than 200 ranked soccer playing nations - not the clown sports that you are talking about! Leave this forum and go play with yourself.

      Vusi - 2012-06-03 21:07

      sometimes it's better to shut up if u have no clue what u are talking about, "Rome was not built in one day"

      scaztanza - 2012-06-03 21:18

      Absolutely, these dimwits are dragging us down with them! Sean you are 100% right and I will not stand and watch when supposedly the biggest sport code in the country is pathetic. They have the most sophisticated admin in Africa, the biggest budget of all football associations in Africa, the best stadia in Africa, etc etc yet they are the worst! Rugby and cricket are the ones who get hammered eventhough they rank amongst the best in the world consistently! The buffons Bafana never get hammered yet they don't deliver! Whites will never play in the squad, let alone other races, Benni was right to tell Moneeb the truth. Reverse racism and no one is saying anything and I'm Black...

      mafios1969 - 2012-06-03 21:18

      bloody single-digit IQ...sorry!

      William - 2012-06-04 00:02

      Idiots support poor performing teams aka losers. Amazingly are they the ones who are calling others morons. A new coach won't help. The players are not talented. BEE was designed by failures to fail. I'm with you 100% Sean.

      keneilwe.ramokoka - 2012-06-04 02:01

      @sean: have you actually thought about the amount of money that is invested in rugby or most of the sport you mentioned? Go to school level or Universities and check the level of development. Dont paint people with the same brush if you dont want others to do the same to you. If I may ask, when you say "rest of South Africa that still have some pride" who are you refering to?

  • mholthuysen - 2012-06-03 20:07

    So no Brazil either - I guess the next time we will play in the World Cup again is when we host it again in 76 years!

      freda.coetzee - 2012-06-03 20:40

      Hope they choose a new squad by then???

  • mpho.masilo.16 - 2012-06-03 20:31

    We dint need a draw we need win pitso must go 9 games 8 loose 1 draw wats dat

  • Ringeta - 2012-06-03 21:12

    Well done Pitso. It was a game. Courage brother. Even Pereira and sir fergusand do loose. But you did not but a draw is better than zero.

      Tubbie1 - 2012-06-04 07:16

      Ringeta we want to qualify if we don't win our home games how do you think we are going to qualify? If we failed at home do you think we can in Ethiopia? Ethiopia will have 4 points to 1 over us! Stop giving credit where is not due my man that draw was a victory to ethiopia. Pitso must just go

  • Ringeta - 2012-06-03 21:15

    Sean, Zuma does not play football. Zille also did not even try to play football. Hatred will bring sudden death and judgement. Racism has no space in that game because Ethopians are blacks also. You were very quick.

  • Thandiwe - 2012-06-03 21:39

    I wish pitso can give dat super sports goalkeepar a chance,keep sunderland and remove khune

      france.bartman - 2012-06-03 23:50


  • simpiwe.mboniswa - 2012-06-03 21:46

    @ Sean, dude you need to chill. What sport do you play and at what level? There is no need for such comments. I live in England, football is a national sport, but they have never won anything for decades now and it's not blamed on the government or the skin colour of the players. When I read comments like this make me ashamed to call myself a South African. We truly have some way to go before we completely see the light at the end of the tunnel.

      sean.bagley.50 - 2012-06-03 22:08

      You live in England,so do I for 35 years already. So what is your excuse for this pathetic football team call Bafana Bafana.How come you don't have South African players playing in top European club football? Look at other African nations that are far less fortunate than South Africa is,with having their own problems worse than ours and then look at how well they do in Europe,the heartland of top-notch football. Didier Drogba,Samuel Eto'o,Michael Essien,Papiss Demba Cisse,Yaya Toure,John Obi Mikel,Cheik Tiote,Alexandre Song,Gervinho to name but a few. Where are the South African footballers in top European or English Premiership clubs? Only Pienaar that is playing for Everton and their best finished is consistently being outside the top 4 in the English Premiership.

  • Thabo - 2012-06-03 22:14

    Talent is there but just do not have the ability to finish. Its clear current strikers just can't score, Bafunny Bafana. Film an Publication Board must rate the squad 16E (Embarrassment).

      fdalana - 2012-06-03 22:22

      nice one!

      William - 2012-06-04 00:17

      LMAO Yeah right Thabo!

  • aaron.dube.37 - 2012-06-03 22:55

    Pitso should have been fired last year after he failed to take us to the AFCON. Maybe he is giving a cut of his salary to SAFA honchos so they can never fire him

      france.bartman - 2012-06-03 23:58


  • keith.ngobeni - 2012-06-03 23:22

    as long as that guy called Kirsten nematudini and his fat cats are still involved in south african football nothing will come to fruition that's why iam not wasting my time on supporting bafana-bafana, I have put my focus on the springboks

  • spnkosi - 2012-06-03 23:23

    Were the Bafana players told that this is a World Cup qualifier? Because, I mean, CAF rules were overlooked, so maybe this fact was too...

  • france.bartman - 2012-06-03 23:33


      dave.kofang - 2012-06-04 06:58

      WC teams are very weak thats why one of them is fighting relegation n also its da only province in SA.

  • edwin.phadu - 2012-06-03 23:51

    Pitso he is not selecting best players, pirates has won 3 cups, they are the champions in south africa, but none of the players start the match, all the bench warmers plays, while the champions are sitting on the bench and that cost him 2 points, that he will never recover, pitso should just resign.

      nontsikelelo.ntsiki.18 - 2012-06-04 06:57

      luk @changes he made replacing tanduyise kuboni with teko modise whose \teko\?

  • Bam - 2012-06-03 23:57

    useless. bafana is not hungry enough. stop seeing other teams as has beens.

  • eric.ragimana - 2012-06-04 00:09

    pitso must go!

  • reubenk3 - 2012-06-04 04:31

    The national team has a long way to go, let us hope they will win the next group matches, or else we might not qualify for the World Cup just like in 2006.

  • Christopher - 2012-06-04 05:12


  • Jabulani - 2012-06-04 05:32

    stop blaming the coach.Hes not the one who is playing on the field.The problem dat Bafana never win games does not start with pitso.Bafana e paletse the world cup winning coach parreira.Safa can fire pitso,but dat won't make bafana win games.

      Koos - 2012-06-04 06:58

      It stop with the coach. Are you saying that we don't have people with skill to play at that level? or are the people with skill not selected because they don't play for Chiefs or Pirates?

  • Claude - 2012-06-04 06:29

    All the signs have been there for the past few years - we just have not developed the players the can meld into a team that can play winning football at international level -- at least not with the coaching methods we have been applying.

      Godfrey - 2012-06-04 07:28

      The road not to qualify for brazil FiFA World Cup has started,pitso must just join politics and leave the coaching alone.SAFA must wake up

  • Amos - 2012-06-04 07:36

    i beleive dat we need change bafana bafana is going no where if pitso is still a coach he faild alread what else ,on paper he won everything but on ground he lost ,safa is time to let the man quite it is almost duck,maybe u dont want to go down with him,the man is not gud for the job.we wont qualify for the world cup at brazil make my words.

  • Rayale26 - 2012-06-04 07:55

    Sadly our results are consistent, consistently poor. How stupid of us to think it would change when we keep the incumbent coach who alongside Perreira couldn't yet we expect him to achieve on his own. Bafana needs an overhaul of management, coaching staff and players until then we will not qualify for anything except when we are the host nation. Boring !!!!

  • ntshembolloyd.shibambu - 2012-06-04 08:04

    we(blacks) cnt even run SAFA but we also want the farms n mines uuuuhhh.i see pple buying 1 tomato by R35 in 7 years tym.

      Sthembiso Mlaba - 2012-06-04 19:18

      ppl lets support our Bafana Bafana n when Bafana Bafana loses, lets critisize constructively to help Pitso n boys win. Remember it's 11 against 11 on d field of play.

  • danny.archer.589 - 2012-06-04 10:23

    Let's face facts. You can't polish a turd. (Well Mythbusters can, but that's about it).

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