Cape Town - Sport24's Baden Gillion highlights the talking points from Bafana Bafana's disappointing 2-1 defeat in their final 2018 Soccer World Cup qualifier against Senegal in Dakar.
In back-to-back qualifying game against Senegal, Mzansi’s number one failed to live up to the hype of being the country's saviour and made costly errors as Bafana failed to keep a clean sheet in both matches. Khune made a schoolboy error in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat as he was caught in no man's land for Senegal’s opener. In the first clash in Polokwane - Khune’s under-hit goal-kick had his defence on the back-foot which led to Senegal’s first goal in a 2-0 loss. For all the fans putting the Kaizer Chiefs shot-stopper on a pedestal, these errors were clear examples of why he was never snapped up by a European team.
In what was effectively a dead rubber encounter, Baxter decided against giving other players an opportunity when making only two changes to his line-up. In choosing his strongest 11 Baxter once again favoured the unimpressive Dean Furman in his starting XI ahead of Andile Jali. Baxter again chose to field a team without a recognised goal-scorer when playing Percy Tau as a lone striker even after the Bafana attack failed to convert their chances in Polokwane. The ex-SuperSport United coach seems to have a clear bias for players from his former clubs and selected out of form players, who duly repaid him with mediocre performances. For some reason Baxter also only made two substitutions in what can be a sign of him not trusting his bench. Overall, his decision making at crucial times leave more questions than answers.
As it seems, Bafana Bafana are the perfect team to be caught on the counter-attack. Our general playing style resembles a team who are trailing in the dying stages of a Cup final. Players have absolutely no sense of managing the full 90 minutes of a game, holding onto possession or playing with any sense of a tactical plan to break down a defence. Players too often force attacks that end up in a dead-end leaving them exposed at the back. This was a common theme throughout the qualifying campaign which both Cape Verde and Senegal devastatingly exposed. A massive concern is that it simply looks too easy to play against Baxter’s side.
Zwane penalty miss
Themba Zwane’s horrible penalty miss seemed to perfectly sum up Bafana’s qualifying campaign. In Mark Gleeson’s words: "the Sundowns man looked like he was stepping up to buy airtime" and tried to wait for the keeper to go commit himself before rolling it into the back of the net. The Sundowns attacker though scuffed his shot and failed to hit the target. This is a perfect metaphor of our national team. Poor decision making and mentality to take the penalty in the manner he did with a substandard technique in the execution of the spot-kick.
Baden Gillion is Sport24’s soccer journalist on all soccer related news. Follow Baden on Twitter.