18 November 2009
Bafana Bafana followed up their goalless draw against Japan on the weekend with another nil-all result against Jamaica in Bloemfontein on Tuesday night. Striker Benni McCarthy might be back in the Bafana fold, but the ball is not yet finding the back of the net.
There was optimism that the South African national team might be reinvigorated and on the way up after a committed performance against the Japanese in Carlos Parreira’s first game back as coach, but the display against the Reggae Boyz lacked the passion of the showing in Port Elizabeth.
While South Africa held onto the ball well, they lacked penetration, and a more direct approach was called for at times.
‘These two games were vital’
“These two games were vital to bring back the confidence, and I was happy with the way we played in the first half,” Parreira said after the game.
“We had three or four good opportunities in the first half, and then in the second half there were too many replacements from Jamaica, and that disrupted the rhythm of the game.”
Truth be told, it was not much of a surprise that the contest ended in a goalless draw.
Lack of goals
In their last five games leading into Tuesday evening’s clash, Jamaica had scored only two goals and conceded two, resulting in two wins, one draw and two losses.
South Africa, in their previous five matches, had scored only one goal in a 1-0 win over Madagascar, lost 1-0 to Ireland, 1-0 to Norway, and 1-0 to Iceland before the goalless draw against Japan.
Add it all up and you get only eight goals scored in 10 matches, with Bafana Bafana and the Reggae Boyz scoring only three of those; the warning signs that it would be a nil-nil draw were clear.
On a cold night in Bloemfontein, South Africa started more confidently than the Jamaicans, moving the ball around nicely. An early opportunity was created for Katlego Mphela, but his shot flew wide of the mark.
Retaining possession well, Bafana controlled the midfield and some good work between McCarthy and Mphela nearly found a way through the visitors’ defences, but Dwayne Miller in the Jamaican goal knocked the ball behind for a corner.
South Africa were dominating play, but Jamaica came extremely close to taking the lead on the counter-attack. Jason Morrison made a great run and beat goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez, but SA skipper Aaron Mokoena saved the day with a clearance off the goalline.
McCarthy tested Miller a short while later with a well-struck free-kick, but the goalkeeper deflected the speeding ball wide of the post.
After the break, Jamaica gained more parity in midfield, although Bafana slowly exerted their dominance in that area again as the game progressed.
A free-kick by Spihiwe Tshabalala failed to find the target, but Kagisho Dikgacoi drew oohs and aahs out of the crowd when he pulled the trigger from distance and his shot passed just over the crossbar.
Jamaica had an opportunity to take a late lead when Omar Cummings got onto the end of a cross, but his header from right in front went over the crossbar.
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