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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: South Africa captain Hlatshwayo laments 'soft goals' conceded against Nigeria

7:15 AM SGT 11/7/19
Thulani Hlatshwayo, South Africa, July 2019
The Bafana captain admits his side failed to replicate the form that saw them overcome Egypt when they came up against Nigeria

Bafana Bafana’s biggest flaw was their failure to replicate the start they had against Egypt when they took on Nigeria on Wednesday.

This is according to captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, who was gutted to have lost to the Super Eagles in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final.

A last minute William Troost-Ekong goal felt like a dagger to the hearts of the Bafana players as their Afcon campaign came to a sudden end, and South Africa’s woeful run - which has seen them fail to register a win over Nigeria at the continental showpiece - continued.   

“I think first half we didn’t play according to our strength,” Hlatshwayo told SuperSport TV.

“We didn’t play the way we started against Egypt. We looked flat and we rectified it in the second-half.

Meanwhile, Hlatshwayo lamented the ‘soft goals’ conceded. Nigeria took the lead in the first-half through Samuel Chukwueze before Bongani Zungu drew Bafana level after his goal was referred to VAR.

“The coach spoke about it and we spoke about it as players, because sometimes a good team is a team that corrects itself on the field,” Hlatshwayo reflected on Bafana’s struggles.

“We came back strongly. We conceded a soft goal – all the goals we have conceded are goals we always work hard at training to avoid them.

“But we are happy for the opportunity, and obviously it's difficult to exit the competition this way, having conceded in the last minute.

“Like I said second half we came back and played to our strengths but towards the end of the game we ended up playing long balls because we were chasing a win."