Oh so easy for Bafana
But they could have notched up double figures in qualifier
Bafana Bafana (3) 6 Seychelles 0
GOALS: Nigel Hoareau — own goal (23m); Thulani Hlatshwayo (25min), Lebo Mothiba (27min), Percy Tau (74min), Dino Ndlovu (81min), Tebogo Mokoena (90+2min)
● Bafana Bafana improved their chances of going to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next year when they thrashed minnows Seychelles with three quick first-half goals setting up an easy win at a rain-soaked stadium.
Bafana’s victory took them to the top of Group E with seven points — three ahead of Libya who were to meet Nigeria away in Uyo in a game which kicked off a few minutes after the Bafana game yesterday.
The 6-0 score bettered Bafana’s 5-0 win over Guatemala in June 2010 in a World Cup warm-up friendly in Polokwane.
The heavy pitch made things better for the visitors as Bafana struggled to push the ball around the way coach Stuart Baxter had promised the team will have to do against a team which last won three years ago.
With pressure to win weighing heavily on Bafana after their timid goalless draw against Libya in Durban, they started nervously and missed a couple of gilt-edged opportunities before Seychelles defender Nigel Nigel Hoareau helped the home side with an own goal in the 23rd minute.
It came as a result of the pressure from Bafana against a team which defended with 10 men and had nothing to play for after losing both their opening matches away to Libya (5-1) in June last year and at home against Nigeria (3-0) last month.
Nigel headed into his own net while trying to clear Thulani Hlatshwayo’s headed cross inside the area after linking up well with Kamohelo Mokotjo, who had a stellar game alongside Dean Furman in the middle of the park.
Barely two minutes had elapsed when Bafana doubled their lead, this time Bafana skipper Hlatshwayo scoring himself after connecting well with Aubrey Modiba, another Bafana player who had a good match playing on the left side of midfield.
To their credit Bafana didn’t take their foot off the pedal after Hlatshwayo’s goal and their pressing game again paid off when the France-based striker Lebo Mothiba scored his third Bafana goal in three matches — confidently thumping it home after turning a defender inside out inside the area after receiving from livewire Modiba.
Bafana missed chances in the second half, the main culprit being Mothiba’s striking partner Percy Tau, who missed several chances before getting his second qualification goal in the 74th minute before Dino Ndlovu and Tebogo Mokoena wrapped up the scoring in the 81st and 92nd minutes.
Tau, unlucky not to open the scoring with a free kick that hit the upright in the first half, finished with aplomb after an assist from Mothiba.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns striker also scored against Nigeria in Uyo when Bafana won 2-0 in their opening qualifier in June last year.
Not getting as many goals in this match may come back to haunt Bafana in terms of goal difference if they finish on the same number of points as either Nigeria or Libya.
But for the misses, Bafana could have easily notched up double figures.
Bafana will almost seal qualification for Cameroon if they double their wins over the 189-ranked Indian Ocean islanders in the return leg at the Stade Linite in Victoria on Tuesday. After the Seychelles on Tuesday Bafana will host Nigeria in Johannesburg on November 16 before finishing their qualifiers against Libya in March next year.
Bafana’s Buhle Mkhwanazi beats Perry Monnaie to the ball during yesterday’s Afcon qualifier at the FNB Stadium.