Bafana beat minnows Niger

2010-09-04 23:31

Nelspruit - South Africa launched a challenge for African Nations Cup redemption by outplaying minnows Niger 2-0 on Saturday in Nelspruit.

Early and late first half goals from strikers Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker saw Bafana Bafana secure maximum points from a Group G opener likely to prove the easiest of six qualifying games.

A visit to bogey team Sierra Leone in October will reveal more about the team who three months ago became the first Soccer World Cup hosts to be eliminated after the first round.

Local coach Pitso Mosimane replaced veteran Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira after that tournament and vowed to take the 1996 African champions to the 2012 finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

With seven-time title holders Egypt in the same mini-league and only the table toppers guaranteed a tournament place, it is a tall order for former national team striker Mosimane.

After hosting and winning the Nations Cup, South Africa have steadily slipped from 1998 runners-up to three consecutive first round exits since 2004 and the humiliation of not even making it to Angola this year.

The vuvuzela may have been shown a 'red card' from European football body UEFA this week, but the plastic horn that droned to prominence during the World Cup was much in evidence at the 40,000-seat Mbombela Stadium.

South African supporters need little encouragement to celebrate and they witnessed an encouraging start as the team set out to break down the predictably hyper-cautious Central Africans.

Niger survived several scares and goalkeeper Kassaly Daouda needed treatment after taking an accidental knock when defender Bongani Khumalo tried to knock a loose ball into the net.

Mphela put Bafana Bafana ahead with a clinical finish on 12 minutes, racing on to a perfectly weighted Steven Pienaar pass and touching the ball twice before chipping it over the onrushing goalkeeper.

The 27-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns striker craves a transfer overseas with Birmingham City and Glasgow Rangers reportedly showing interest and this top-drawer finish will do his prospects no harm.

Poor control robbed Mphela of a second goal as half-time approached with the ball running away from him and overworked Daouda cleared as Niger struggled to contain the lively home team.

And three minutes into first-half stoppage time South Africa doubled their advantage with Parker from Dutch champions Twente volleying an Anele Ngcongca cross into the corner of the net.

The second half followed a similar pattern to what had gone before with South Africa attacking continuously and Daouda from Cameroon club Cotonspoprt Garoua sparing the visitors a hiding through numerous fine saves.


  • Lesley - 2010-09-04 23:48

    Glad sa won but unfortunately we won't qualify as our next match is away to sierra leone who I believe is a bette opponent than niger. We will again fail as we will lose out to goal difference. We need to stay awake through the full 90 minutes not just for the first half.

  • SECO - 2010-09-05 03:18

    We deserve the best with the squad that Pitso has formed. The thrilling three points will make our boys to face Siera Leon with much more energy not forgetting that we don't want to embarous the entire nation who stood them behind all the way from World Cup up to this point.

  • Chumani - 2010-09-05 06:49

    @Lesley, do you know how how the AFCON qualifiers are played are you just commenting for the sake of commenting? Exactly what do you know about Sierra Leone?

  • Shankly's Kin - 2010-09-05 08:18

    Well done boys. Lets keep it up now. We need to learn how to win away. If we can do that, we'll make it for Afcon.

  • @Chumani - 2010-09-05 09:59

    Banan Banana

  • Rico - 2010-09-05 19:21

    Well done SA! Best wishes with your next match against Sierra Leone! Rico

  • Mtubatuba - 2010-09-06 06:55

    Well done boys, but we cant afford to mic so many chances away when we meet sierra leone, remmember for 2010 angola qualifers we were also on the same group and we gave them 4 points and fail to qualify but I bilieve that this tym around we have more quality players compared to those who were represating the nation @ that tym.

  • Greg - 2010-09-06 09:48

    Lesley. what are you smoking???U are def not well educated in sport, etc. Sierra Leone, a war torn rubbish heap, where child soldiers are the order of the day. the people on average earn less than a dollar a day, war lords and dictators run a collapsed state and the soccer team have no european exports. If we lose to them , it will surely be because of the playing conditions, the food and the boy soldiers pointing their AK-47's at our players, everytime we get close to scoring. Countries like this should not ever host matches. They should be held in a neutral venue. Bafana are turning into a strong, capable unit, beating France, Ghana, Columbia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Thailand, Niger, drawing with Mexico, all in the space of the last 3 months. I really think Sierra Leone should be a formailty and we should turn them over really easily. I just think playing there is a problem.

  • Louis - 2010-09-06 11:07

    I listened to the match on RSG radio and the comentator Johan Rossouw almost blew his gasket from pure frustration. It seems like Bafana had at least 16 more chances but were unable to score.

  • njabulo - 2010-09-06 11:44

    there is still a lot of work to be done with Bafana Bafana. they miss a lot of chances that they create which will make us struggle against the likes of Egypt.

  • Julian - 2010-09-07 08:26

    Can Anele Ngcongca now qualify for playing in the English Premier League?

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