Cape Town - Bafana Bafana wrapped up AFCON qualification with a match to spare. Tashreeq Vardien highlights three talking points from the 2-1 victory over Sudan.
Player ratings: Bafana v Sudan
VIDEO: Bafana have no goalkeeping concerns
Sudan proved that their 107th position on the FIFA ranking system should not be taken lightly of as they made South Africa work hard for maximum points at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
Sport24 has highlighted THREE talking points from the weekend's match:
1. Bafana Bafana has goalkeeping depth
Following the death of Senzo Meyiwa, South Africa mourned and went into a quiet frenzy over who would fill the boots of the former Bafana Bafana captain. With Kaizer Chiefs' Itumeleng Khune sidelined until the end of the year, coach Shakes Mashaba called up Brilliant Khuzwayo, Darren Keet and Siyabonga Mpontshane. Keet was the obvious first-choice, as he has been third-choice when both Meyiwa and Khune were present. Sudan did not give the KV Kortrijk No 1 a solid work-out, thanks to the drudgery work from midfield and the defence. However, Keet did concede a goal (South Africa's first in AFCON qualification this year) but that was only due to the defence falling asleep and Sudan capitalising. Khuzwayo and Mpontshane have been in fine form for their respective clubs with Khuzwayo having to stand in for Khune since September. Bafana can rest assure that in Keet (25), Khuzwayo (24) and Khune (27) they have a trio that can anchor South Africa’s defence for the next 10 years.
2. Thulani Serero is better in the "number 10" role
In the past Thulani Serero has come under scrutiny for not displaying his full potential for the national side, but over the weekend he played in a much more comfortable position just behind Tokelo Rantie and Bongani Ndulula. The Ajax Amsterdam midfielder was allowed to roam in the middle of the park and easily collect balls from the hardworking Dean Furman and Andile Jali. Rantie and Serero’s understanding should be something Mashaba would want to build on and utilise. It was pleasing on the eye to see such creativity which was obviously missing in the past for Bafana. With Sibusiso Vilakazi is nursing a toe injury, Mashaba handed Serero the role and the 24-year-old showed what he is capable of when he is played in the right position. Bafana are yet to face sterner oppositions, but building confidence and strong combinations against lesser known teams will surely prove beneficial in the future.
3. Is Bongani Ndulula’s time up?
The AmaZulu striker had yet another poor performance and whether Mashaba will continue to hand ‘Drogba’ the No 9 jersey will be fascinatingto see following the many chances he's squandered in front of goal in Bafana colours. However, Mashaba’s patience might have reached his limit as he took the striker off early in the second half to hand Moeketsi Sekola his debut. Later on Monday Bafana will travel to Nigeria and the Super Eagles are known for their physical stature; an element South Africa lacks which could play a factor in dropping the Ndulula. Kermit Erasmus and Sekola will likely have to wait and see if Mashaba will hand them the role, as they both have been scoring frequently for their respective clubs.
Bafana will face Nigeria in the final Group A game at the Uyo International Stadium on Wednesday, November 19.
Kick-off is at 19:00.
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