Depleted Bafana salvage draw

2012-01-11 19:07

Johannesburg - A second-string Bafana Bafana outfit earned a 1-1 draw against Zambia in a practice match at the Rand Stadium on Wednesday.

With the SA Football Association downgrading the game to a simple training affair, the meagre crowd failed to fill even one of the four stands at the 25 000-seater stadium in the south of Johannesburg.

While the South Africans had threatened to play in their training gear, and the possibility of deviating from standard football rules was discussed beforehand, Bafana turned out in their full kit in a match split by the usual two 45-minute halves.

Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane said he was satisfied with his young squad’s performance, despite having little to play for after they failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) later this month.

"We achieved our objective," Mosimane said.

"We believe every time a door closes, another one opens.

"This was another draw, and maybe some people won’t be happy with that, but we are taking one step at a time. "We are building and we will win games. We will get there."

Zambia took control in the first stanza after the South Africans had missed an early chance, with Wayne Arendse sending a close-range effort wide to the left.

The visitors struck in the eighth minute when Stoppila Sunzu fired in a well-placed header from a corner to give his side the lead.

The Zambians piled on the pressure and Collins Mbesuma hit the side netting a minute later before Rainford Kalaba knocked a tame effort over the bar.

Bafana, however, gathered themselves and hit back midway through the opening period when George Maluleka blasted an effort from outside the area, forcing Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who turns out for Free State Stars in the PSL, to stretch at full length to keep the ball out.

The visitors, spearheaded by Mbesuma, who is also well accustomed to SA conditions as a regular starter for Golden Arrows, wasted two golden chances with four minutes left in the first half.

First Mbesuma thundered a shot over the crossbar, and seconds later he blasted a low strike straight to Bafana goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo who gathered the ball comfortably as Zambia took a 1-0 advantage into the break.

Again putting the pressure on the hosts, Rainford Kalaba had the first opportunity for Zambia two minutes into the second half, but he chipped his effort over the bar.

Mbesuma again threatened 10 minutes later but Khuzwayo managed to get his fingers to the ball, tipping it over the post.

Seconds later, however, the South Africans struck back when Ayanda Gcaba tapped in a header from inside the area to equalise for the hosts.

Desperate to regain the lead, Zambia pushed forward, with Joshua Titima and James Chamanga firing over the bar.

Christopher Katongo came close with 20 minutes left, but Khuzwayo did well to get a leg to it, keeping the ball out.

A clearly depleted Bafana side held their own in the last half hour, creating more chances than the Zambian outfit which will compete in the AFCON tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

SA captain Reneilwe Letsholonyane dribbled through four defenders before he flicked a shot wide to the right from the edge of the area, and Ryan Chapman, prominent on attack when Bafana travelled up field, blasted an effort straight at Mweene from the edge of the area.

Nhlanhla Vilakazi nearly netted the winner in injury time but Mweene got his hand to the ball, tapping it centimetres over the bar.

South Africa will play another practice match against Ghana in Phokeng, outside Rustenburg, on Sunday, and Mosimane said he was pleased to give his younger players a chance against sides that will turn out at AFCON.

"It is not easy for me as the coach at the moment, and I know why - it’s because we didn’t qualify," he said.

"But well done to Zambia and we are glad to have the opportunity against these teams."


  • Sannie - 2012-01-12 05:23

    This Pitso guy have balls to tell the public that he is satisfied with the performance of his clowns. one of the sponsors have threatened to pull out of SAFA, so the mother body must decide if it is the sponsor or Pitso the clown. His arrogance is his downfall, it is time that SAFA get Shakes Mashaba to prepare bafana for the next Afcon.

      Deon - 2012-01-12 06:47

      Well in all fairness to Pitso, look at the talent he has to work with. The sooner the public realise that most of the players playing in the PSL are below average the better.

      mrmogoswane - 2012-01-12 10:18

      @Deon then he must stop picking his below par PSL players, we have plenty of talent out side the country that is being over looked.

  • david.lebethe - 2012-01-12 08:12

    @Both Sannie and Deon. Esasy, guys. I dont think our makeshift team played bad. The boys gave good account of themselves and believe had Pitso assembled a full squad, we would have lost both friendly games. The reason is that our "stars" think they have arrived - they believe their chance games against international stars has catapulted them into superstars. This is evincedc by their general conduct towards their teams management, tgechnical staff, team mates and spectators. The cars they drive, the girls they attract and the functions they attend have all gone into their heads as they display similar attitude even in the field of game. In teh light of the above, I think it is unfair to take it out on Pitso or football administration for that matter. I think we should embrace the team and maybe build from thereon and forget about the "superstars", who neither have the zeal nor understand what it means to play for a country.

  • Tokollo - 2012-01-12 08:23

    All that the fans want is a win regardless of the nature of the game/fixture and to get rid of the building statement as it has been over-used by Pitso to shy away from the truth. We are not idiots as we played a lot of draws and this made us the laughing stock of African football as we celebrated for not qualifying to the AFCON tournament. We have played three games to date without a win. Pitso needs to start giving us confidence in his ability as coach of the national team as these draws are very irritating.

  • Ian - 2012-01-12 08:28

    another damn draw, these guys belong in art school they like to draw so much lol

      Topsy - 2012-01-12 10:58


      Heiku - 2012-01-12 13:04

      Good one

  • Heiku - 2012-01-12 13:02

    I'm pretty sure one of our players is being sexually abused by a Zambian in the picture accompanying the article.

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