• Eric Mwanza
CAF Media Officer Cape Town
+ 27 612593821
Bafana Bafana made a perfect start to the Africa Nations Championship, or Chan 2014 tournament, with a gritty 3-1 win over Mozambique’s Mambas in an exciting opening game at Cape Town Stadium on 11 January 2014.
The match, which observed a minute of silence for legendary Mozambican-born Portuguese international Eusebio, who died last week, was attended by South African President Jacob Zuma, president of CAF Issa Hayatou, Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula and South African Football Association boss Danny Jordaan.
The first five minutes saw Bafana Bafana on the Mozambican half, but the national team failed to get an early goal as the Mambas’ solid defence kept them at bay.
The visitors took a shock lead in the 10th minute when Diogo Alberto took a wicked deflection shot off Thato Mokeke to give the minnows a surprise 1-0 lead.
The goal sparked Bafana to life as they began to put their opponents under pressure just outside the box, but they kept disappointing their home fans with their poor finishing.
Bafana Bafana got a free kick on the 26th minute after Simphiwe Tshabalala was brought down just out the box, but Katlego Mashego wasted the opportunity to equalise when his strike went wide and very high.
However, as Bafana kept on putting pressure at the Mozambican goal, Lobo brought down Barnard Parker in the box and the referee did not hesitate to award Bafana a penalty.
Parker did not disappoint and converted the penalty easily bringing the silent Cape Town stadium to life once again.
Bafana kept on pilling the pressure and Mashego then hit the post as Bafana continued to pour forward.
Parker was foiled by the Mamba’s keeper a minute after resumption but with opportunities coming thick and fast, it was just a matter of time.
The second goal for Bafana came as Hlompo Kekana kicked home a screamer from just inside the halfway line in the 57th minute with a spectacular shot that shook the roof of the net as Cape Town Stadium erupted with cheers.
Parker sealed the match for Bafana with a third goal in the 81st minute.
Goals from Abdoulaye Sissoko in the 17th minute and a second-half cracker from roving left-winger Adama Traore gave Mali a stunning start to the competition when they beat Nigeria’s Super Eagles 2-1 on Saturday night.
Fuad Salami scored the only consolation goal for the Eagles.
Zimbabwe and Morocco played to a goalless draw on Sunday in the in the opening match of the Group B at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town.
Yunus Sentamu’s two goals gave Uganda first spot in Group B when they beat Burkina Faso 2-1 at the Athlone Stadium on Sunday night. Cyrille Bayala got a late consolation goal for the Burkinabe in the 87th minute.