Bafana Bafana

Three things learnt from Congo draw

2014-10-16 12:23
Thulani Serero (File)
Cape Town - Sport24's Wade Pretorius outlines three lessons learnt from Bafana Bafana's draw against Congo.

Bafana Bafana player ratings vs Congo

South Africa took another step towards AFCON 2015 qualification following a 0-0 draw with Congo in Polokwane on Wednesday evening.

Bafana Bafana failed to take advantage of home comforts as well organised Congo defence kept the national side at bay in the first half before the rain came down at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Here are THREE lessons learnt from the 0-0 draw against Congo:

1. Shakes was right! Bafana Bafana don't enjoy the rain!

At the press conference before the first national side's first home game in Cape Town, Shakes Mashaba said that he hoped for clear skies on match-day as the national team struggles in wet weather and on the evidence of last night, it seems the coach is spot on. Bafana Bafana looked comfortable in a dry first half in Polokwane on Wednesday before the heavens opened at half time. 

Bafana Bafana were extremely poor in the second half as they failed to keep possession as the rain came down. As the conditions worsened, it seemed to force the players into their shells with the striker failing to create the necessary movement needed for any meaningful chances while the defenders were happy to hack the ball upfield.

The rain appeared to wash away any hopes of a vital winning goal with Shakes' argument that the national side does not enjoying the rain gaining momentum.

2. Out of position, out of luck

There were at least four players playing out of their usual positions against Congo, some forced by injuries and others forced by Mashaba's tactics.

Despite doing their defensive job effectively, on Wednesday night both full-backs Sibusiso Khumalo and Thulani Hlatswayo, were unable to assist the midfield in creating chances by moving forward on attack to create the overlap and whip in some crosses. This limited the service to the largely ineffective strike pair of Bongani Ndulula and Tokelo Rantie.

Mandla Masango and Thulani Serero were also unable to stamp their mark on the evening's proceedings with both players more accustomed to playing in a central role. Serero, well established in the midfield for Ajax Amsterdam, was poor against Congo and failed to do the job of an out-an-out winger before being replaced by Oupa Manyisa

While on fire in the PSL with Kaizer Chiefs, Mandla Masango also struggled in the role on the right of midfield. It seems that Shakes Mashaba will do well to introduce outright wingers into the squad if he wants to persist with his 4-4-2 formation.

3. Strikers need to shape up or ship out

Bongani Ndulula was a passenger against Congo as he offered little imagination and creativity up front. Like his fellow strike partner, Ndulula seems happy to sit on the last defender and wait for chances to come his way instead of working for the team by dropping deeper to find the ball and help his side link up play between the strikers and the midfield.

Tokelo Rantie produced a rather forgettable display where he failed to provide any threat on the Congo goals. Offside for most of the evening, Rantie will need to work much harder if he wants to keep his place in the side with Kermit Erasmus and David Zulu no doubt providing Shakes Mashaba with some very good alternative options.

It is time for both strikers to knuckle down and start delivering the goods up front or face Mashaba's axe.


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