Bafana Bafana

Kamikaze tackling a danger for Bafana

2016-10-14 10:58
soccer, getty images, shakes mashaba
Shakes Mashaba (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - In their two most recent matches against Burkina Faso (World Cup qualifier) and Ghana (friendly international), Bafana Bafana dodged the bullet of mortal defeat in spite of conceding three penalties.

Indeed, in the away 1-1 draw against Burkina Faso, a gritty Bafana were leading the game by solitary goal mere seconds before going into referee's optional time in spite of having two  penalties awarded against them.

Against Ghana it was a penalty kick that handed The Black Stars the lead as early as the seventh minute and left a visibly shaken Bafana at sixes and sevens for much of the remainder of the opening half.

An inspirational Ayanda Patosi goal early in the second period seemed to re-invigorate Bafana and enable them to finish the fixture on equal terms - but, as was the case against Burkina Faso, the spectre of penalties and a general trend towards reckless, kamikaze tackling might easily have left South Africa wallowing in defeat.

Against the highly skilled Senegalese dribblers of the calibre of Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Idrissa Gana Gueye injudicious, panicky tackling is more likely than ever to end up with a penalty award - and don't expect the rampant Lions of Teranga to spurn any such gifts towards cementing victory as was the case with Burkina Faso and Ghana.

It has been suggested that kamikaze tackling that infringes the laws is often treated over-generously in the PSL, thereby conditioning South African players to the belief that they can get away with murder in the international arena as well.

Also, South African players tend to become mentally tight on the big occasions and prone to hand out gift penalties and free-kicks against grateful opponents because of their over-anxiety.

Coach Shakes Mashaba has stressed that nothing less than unwavering concentration, composure and discipline will do against a team of Senegal's calibre - and avoiding handing out penalties to the opposition via kamikaze tackling fits high on the list of what to avoid against the likes of the ever-hungry Lions of Taranga.

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