The Citizen (KZN)

Cut our boys some slack

- With Jonty Mark

Bafana Bafana’s friendly draw with Andorra on Thursday has garnered unnecessar­y criticism from some South African supporters, who seem to have forgotten that only weeks ago their national team came home with a bronze medal from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Seen in isolation, a draw with European minnows Andorra is not ideal, but this was a makeshift Bafana side, a chance for Hugo Broos to take a look at some of his squad players.

A 30-hour trip to Annaba in Algeria also can’t have helped, and Bafana created enough chances to win the game, as well as shooting themselves in the foot with an absolute howler from goalkeeper Ricardo Goss.

There were positives in the performanc­e of Sekhukhune attacker Elias Mokwana and Orlando Pirates’ Patrick Maswangany­i, as well as negatives in concerns about a reliable back-up goalkeeper to Ronwen Williams, and the ongoing search for a reliable Bafana goalscorer.

The friendly against Algeria today also needs to be taken for what it is – preparatio­n for the far more important 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria and Zimbabwe in June.

But with a first-choice Bafana side on the pitch, there is a chance for Hugo Broos’ triedand-trusted to gain further momentum from the thirdplace Afcon finish.

Algeria are a North African powerhouse, whose performanc­e at the Afcon, where they finished bottom of their group, is not a reflection of the quality of players in the Desert Foxes’ squad.

In front of a passionate home crowd, and with a new head coach to impress in Swiss mentor Vladimir Petkovic, Algeria should be favourites to get a second friendly win on the trot, after their thrilling victory over Bolivia on Friday.

Bafana, however, proved themselves masters of upsetting the odds at the Afcon.

With Nigeria to come away from home in the World Cup qualifiers in June, the kind of confidence a win in Algeria can add to the memory bank cannot be underestim­ated.

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