Coach would like to keep the struc­ture of the team to­gether and make only a few changes ahead of Tues­day’s An­gola friendly

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI at MOSES MABHIDA STA­DIUM ti­mothy@city­

There will be no whole­sale changes when Bafana Bafana play An­gola in a friendly match in East Lon­don on Tues­day. This was re­vealed by stand-in coach Owen da Gama at yes­ter­day’s Bafana vs Guinea-Bis­sau post-match press con­fer­ence. The coach said he would like to keep the struc­ture of the team to­gether and make only a few changes as he was happy with how the play­ers car­ried them­selves.

“I was happy with the per­for­mance and how the play­ers ex­pressed them­selves and en­joy­ing them­selves out there. It was a good ex­er­cise for us and we got what we wanted. This should be a nice se­lec­tion headache for the new coach go­ing for­ward be­cause there is still a lot of qual­ity play­ers out there,” said Da Gama.

But he said he would give some of the play­ers who did not get a chance against Guinea-Bis­sau some time out against An­gola.

“We learnt our les­son from our [pre­vi­ous] friendly game against Mozam­bique a while ago when we made 11 changes and we were out of sorts in the sec­ond half of that game. So we will make changes where nec­es­sary, but the idea is to give as many play­ers as pos­si­ble a chance to play.”

Da Gama also raved about Kamo­h­elo Mokotjo’s dis­tri­bu­tion of the ball, say­ing the FC Twente mid­fielder gave the team some­thing they have been miss­ing.

If yes­ter­day’s dis­play is any­thing to go by, then the fu­ture looks bright for South African foot­ball. But it is too early to pass judge­ment as there is a long, long way to go, but there is light at the end of the tun­nel. Yes­ter­day’s vic­tory took Bafana to 11 games un­beaten.

If the new coach was watch­ing from the stands or some­where (word yes­ter­day was that French­man Hervé Re­nard would be re­vealed as the new man), he would have taken a few notes on the pro­ceed­ings here. Two ar­eas which Bafana will need to work on go­ing for­ward is how they deal with crosses and set pieces and also up­front. They looked vul­ner­a­ble at the back when Guinea at­tacked from the flanks – even their goal came from one those crosses.

Bafana also looked flat in front of goals as they were let down by in­de­ci­sive­ness and poor de­ci­sion mak­ing. They did not trou­ble the vis­it­ing goal­keeper Papa Masse in the first half un­til they were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute. They need to be ruth­less in front of goals, par­tic­u­larly when they are play­ing teams like Guinea-Bis­sau, which did not of­fer too much re­sis­tance un­til late into the game when they caused a few prob­lems.

France-based Kea­gan Dolly said he was per­son­ally ex­cited to see Mokotjo and Ker­mit Eras­mus back in the team.

“Hav­ing them in the team and the new bunch of play­ers en­cour­ages us as young­sters. We are a vi­brant team and en­joy each other’s com­pany,” said the player who cap­tained the SA Un­der-23 at the Rio Olympics last year.

There were lots of pos­i­tives from this game and hope­fully Bafana learnt a thing or two. How­ever, they should not get car­ried away as this was just a friendly game.

But over­all there were some glimpses of bril­liance from the team with some neat in­ter­passes and find­ing spa­ces be­hind the west African side’s de­fence.

Mokotjo looked too ea­ger to im­press fol­low­ing his Dutch ci­ti­zen­ship de­ba­cle. And im­pres­sive he was as he con­trolled the pro­ceed­ings from the mid­dle of the park with some ac­cu­rate passes. He showed South Africans what they missed dur­ing his ab­sence, although he tried too much at times.

Bafana were easy to watch as they were en­ter­pris­ing and en­ter­tain­ing.

Young Percy Tau did not dis­ap­point too when he came off the bench and scored on his de­but just a few min­utes af­ter com­ing on.

Tau showed his class when he com­bined with his former Mamelodi Sun­downs team-mate Dolly to put Bafana 2-0 ahead.

But Bafana’s fragili­ties at the back were ex­posed when sub­sti­tute Al­dair Balde pulled one back af­ter the South Africans failed to deal with Tony Silva’s cross. But Bafana had the last laugh when Zam­bian ref­eree Janny Sikazwe awarded them their sec­ond penalty in the dy­ing min­utes and Andile Jali con­verted from the spot.

Ex­cept for the re­turn­ing Mokotjo and Eras­mus, caretaker coach Owen Da Gama stuck with the tried and tested play­ers as he did not want to over­haul the team. But there was no need for a com­plete over­haul as the team had gone 11 games with­out a loss.


RUSH OF BLOOD A fan wear­ing a Kaizer Chiefs shirt could not con­tain him­self and rushed on to the field to Bafana Bafana num­ber one goal­keeper Itu­maleng Khune, kneel­ing in front of him be­fore em­brac­ing him with a bear hug at the Moses Mabhida Sta­dium yes­ter­day

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