Orlando Pirates striker Collins Mbesuma nets only goal of the game for Chipolopolo against South Africa
African champions Zambia completed a 1-0 victory over hosts South Africa in the 2012 Nelson Mandela Challenge at Soccer City on Wednesday night.
The only goal of the game was scored by Orlando Pirates striker Collins Mbesuma, a sweet moment for him in the country where he has played much of his career.
It was a deserved win for Chipolopolo, who should also have had a penalty late on that could have made the scoreline more emphatic.
It means worrying times for Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund, who is trying to persuade the South African public that his side will be competitive at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations next year.
Anele Ngcongca returned at right-back, his first game under Igesund, while Sifiso Myeni was preferred to Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Bernard Parker flashed a 35-yard shot just over Kennedy Mweene’s crossbar, while at the other end Isaac Chansa shot straight at Itumaleng Khune when he had options left and right in better positions.
Joseph Mulenga curled a free-kick narrowly wide with Khune beaten, and then tested the keeper again with a header which was easy for the Kaizer Chiefs man.
Bafana were forced into a change on 28 minutes as Tokelo Rantie was stretchered off, to be replaced by Moroka Swallows forward Katlego Mashego for his first camp in two-and-a-half years.
Mashego had two decent chances early in the second half, first volleying just over the bar from a tight angle, and then put his touch from Lerato Chabangu’s cross just wide of the post.
Mbesuma provided the first real piece of quality in the second half though. The Bafana defence stood off him on the edge of the area and the Orlando Pirates striker blasted the ball home.
Khune pulled out of making the save, seemingly thinking the ball was going wide, though whether he would have got to the ball had he dived will be the subject of some debate.
James Chamanga should have made it 2-0 for Zambia when he stroked the ball wide from a low cross with the goal gaping.
Zambia should have had a penalty when Mbesuma was tripped in the South African area by Bafana skipper Bongani Khumalo, but the referee waved play on, much to the striker’s annoyance.
The home side almost found an equaliser when Kermit Erasmus’ effort was saved by Mweene and Thuso Phala could not turn home the loose ball. It was the final chance for the home side, but to be honest, Bafana deserved little better.