Bafana feast on Botswana

SA once again dom­i­nate African neigh­bours to ad­vance to the last round of the Chan qual­i­fiers

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI at Moru­leng Sta­dium ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Botswana are fast be­com­ing Bafana Bafana’s daily bread! There is no bet­ter way to put it as Bafana once again showed their dom­i­nance over their neigh­bours – with a 1-0 win to ad­vance to the last round of the CAF African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (Chan) qual­i­fiers.

Bafana have beaten the Ze­bras three times in 18 days, once in the Cosafa Cup tour­na­ment and twice in the Chan qual­i­fiers. It seems Botswana just can’t get it right against the South Africans, with only two vic­to­ries in 13 games – and those wins came via penal­ties. Yes­ter­day’s win was Bafana’s 10th over the Ze­bras and only one game be­tween the two na­tions ended in a draw.

Based on these statis­tics, an­other vic­tory was ex­pected from the home side and it was more a ques­tion of how many goals were go­ing to be scored.

Although yes­ter­day’s game was aca­demic, fol­low­ing Bafana’s 2-0 away vic­tory in Fran­cis­town last week­end, the home team still gave their all.

The game was a dead rub­ber and all Bafana had to do was hon­our the match, for their path to the next round was clear.

They did, how­ever, give a de­cent per­for­mance, with play­ers out to im­press the tech­ni­cal team ahead of the 2018 World Cup qual­i­fiers in Septem­ber.

One player who has risen to the oc­ca­sion is Kaizer Chiefs’ striker Ryan Moon, who was, once again, on the score­sheet yes­ter­day. Moon also scored in the away leg last week­end.

De­spite strug­gling to make an im­pact at Chiefs, the 20-year-old was a con­stant men­ace to the vis­i­tors, car­ry­ing their de­fence. He should have scored his sec­ond goal of the match early in the sec­ond half, but goal­keeper Mwampole Ma­sule came to his side’s res­cue with a bril­liant save.

On de­mand, Black Leop­ards’ Siphelele Nt­shangase also caught the eye by show­ing glimpses of bril­liance, par­tic­u­larly with his pass­ing. He made things look easy in the mid­dle of the park as he com­bined well with Moon and Bonginkosi Ntuli – to the de­light of the sup­port­ers.

Cap­tain Mario Booy­sen also had a de­cent game, lead­ing from the back with aplomb and mak­ing sure noth­ing went through.

Stuart Bax­ter’s big­gest chal­lenge is how many of these play­ers will be avail­able for the last leg of the qual­i­fiers.

Bafana will meet their neme­sis, Zam­bia, in the last hur­dle in the sec­ond week­end of next month to de­ter­mine who will book a place in the Kenya tour­na­ment next year.

The two back-to-back games will co­in­cide with the start of the Absa Pre­mier­ship, which could pose a threat to play­ers’ avail­abil­ity, even though most of them are not reg­u­lars at their clubs.

Af­ter giv­ing their all in the two games, they will go back to their clubs with re­newed en­ergy hop­ing to im­press their coaches.

Un­for­tu­nately, most will go back to where they are not ap­pre­ci­ated and will con­tinue to warm the bench.

Bax­ter would have been happy with how his charges as­serted them­selves and dom­i­nated the pro­ceed­ings. On an­other day, the score-line would have been dif­fer­ent as the home side missed chances, but, in the end, it didn’t mat­ter.

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

OVER THE MOON Bafana’s Ryan Moon (11) con­trols the ball in yes­ter­day’s CAF African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship sec­ond-leg qual­i­fier match against Botswana at Moru­leng Sta­dium

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