South Africa took a step towards qualification to Brazil in Cape Town, but the manner of victory did not provide Bafana Bafana fans with utmost confidence, due to the team’s profligacy which may come back to haunt the national side.
With a trip to Central African Republic in June the next stop for South Africa, the journey to Brazil is far from over. The team will need to steel themselves for trips to stadiums with poor pitches, unfamiliar surroundings and toughened opposition.
The result on Saturday had its positives, as South Africa was able to create many chances, but the lack of rewards did not please fans and pundits alike.
Gordon Igesund’s mission is to provide Bafana Bafana with an identity and a new-found spirit which will help to carry them through to the next round of qualification.
His influence can be seen on the pitch as the national side is attacking with new intent and is focusing on their strengths – which revolve around utilising the width of the pitch and controlling the game through the midfield.
|FROM OUR LIVE COMMENTARY|
|17'||RANTIE AGAIN!! Letsholonyane sends in a looping delivery which finds an onrushing Rantie, who tries to place a header into goal, only for his effort to fly wide.|
| PLAYER RATING
|1.5||Rantie had a night to forget in front of goal, as he missed chance after chance and really struggled to find his finishing touch in front of goal.|
This was all on show on Saturday night as South Africa poured forward early on, with Tokelo Rantie creating a myriad golden opportunities. The Malmo striker could not bury his attempts sending the crowd and the bench into frustration.
Rantie’s misses went from close to downright embarrassing. He scuffed his first shot wide past the post when the goal was at his mercy, hit a volley into the stands when he was under no pressure and flailed a header wide. A player known for his menacing pace and deadly goal-scoring ability did not pitch up in Cape Town. But Rantie was not the only one to blame.
It took a sumptuous goal from Thabo Matlaba to break the deadlock, as his trademark long-range strike looped over Lembe’s head and provided the necessary inspiration South Africa needed.
But the clinical strike did not spur the side into action as they continued to look nervy in the final third, wasting effort after effort which gave Central African Republic a way in to the match.
Ithumeleng Khune provided the necessary strength in goal to keep out Les Fauves, but Bafana Bafana was almost punished for their lack of composure.
Parker’s second goal showed the potential of May Mahlangu, as he slid a ball past the defender’s unleashing the Kaizer Chief’s man, who made no mistake in slotting home.
It was 2-0 when it should have been 4-0, as South Africa created unnecessary pressure on themselves by giving CAR a glimmer of hope when the side should have been staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat.
Late on South Africa could not build on their lead, as Mahlangu tried to curl an effort wide and Tshabalala inexplicably missed from close range.
Gordon Igesund has stated that South Africa is not a finished product and that was for all to see in Cape Town. It was a vital win, but an embarrassing victory for the majority of home fans. The road to the World Cup may not be travelled if Bafana Bafana cannot add some sting to their exuberance.