Af­ter a week of chaos, a man­aged to pro­duce a great per­for­mance, de­spite not scor­ing in the sec­ond half

Cob­bled-to­gether na­tional team

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI at Dob­sonville Sta­dium ti­mothy@city­press.co.za West A Zone:

Cri­sis, what cri­sis, one would ask af­ter Bafana Bafana’s em­phatic vic­tory over Mau­ri­tius. Bafana put their dis­as­trous week be­hind them when they easily brushed aside an aw­ful Mau­ri­tius 3-0 in the first leg of the CAF African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship yesterday. It was a week to for­get for coach Shakes Mashaba, but a game to re­mem­ber, as his team pro­duced one of their best per­for­mances in re­cent times with a ham­mer­ing of the visi­tors.

Af­ter the chaotic days lead­ing up to the game, when as many as 11 play­ers were with­drawn from the team by their clubs, Bafana showed char­ac­ter and de­ter­mi­na­tion to take a 3-0 lead into the sec­ond leg in a fort­night’s time.

Although it was a win against a lowly ranked In­dian Ocean is­land side – most of whose play­ers are semipro­fes­sion­als – it was the man­ner in which it was achieved that was con­sol­ing, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the team had just had one train­ing ses­sion prior to the game as a re­sult of the shenani­gans that pre­ceded it.

Mashaba threw Wan­dis­ile Let­labika straight into the line-up with­out hav­ing trained with the team af­ter the Bloem­fontein Celtic de­fender joined the squad on Fri­day night.

But Bafana did not show any signs of dis­trac­tion, as they used the game as a prac­tice match – the visi­tors of­fered vir­tu­ally no re­sis­tance.

Af­ter a slow start, Bafana gained com­po­sure as the shad­ows dropped and they took the game to the visi­tors, who had noth­ing to of­fer ex­cept for one cor­ner kick in the first half.

Although it took them a while be­fore they got their act to­gether, once they got go­ing Bafana were un­stop­pable.

The pos­i­tives for Bafana was the com­bi­na­tion be­tween Tham­sanqa Gabuza and Siphelele Nt­shangase, which was a marvel to watch.

The two strik­ers scored the three first-half goals, with Gabuza open­ing the scor­ing and the Black Leop­ards striker earn­ing him­self a well-taken brace.

It is still a mys­tery how Bafana failed to add to their first-half score, as Nt­shangase was twice de­nied his hat-trick, first by the cross­bar and another ef­fort saved on the line. It should and could have been more, es­pe­cially af­ter David L’en­clume got a red card af­ter re­ceiv­ing his sec­ond yel­low, but Bafana took their feet off the scor­ing pedal in the sec­ond half.

Gam­bia, Guinea, Guinea Bis­sau, Liberia, Mali, Mau­ri­ta­nia, Sene­gal and Sierra Leone

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