Bafana edged by Poland in Warsaw

15 October 2012

South Africa went down 1-0 after conceding a late goal to Poland in an international friendly at the National Stadium in Warsaw on Friday night. Bafana Banafa coach Gordon Igesund said that while he was disappointed with the result, it had been “a good and worthwhile exercise”.

Igesund used the game to hand debuts to three players: Sifiso Myeni, Luvhengo Mungomeni and Ricardo Nunes, while there were also returns for goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi.

Marcin Komorowski struck the winner eight minutes from time after Khune had stymied the Poles’ attacking forays time after time. The fact that Khune was South Africa’s man of the match was somewhat concerning, but Bafana, too, created some opportunities of their own.

Equaliser disallowed

In fact, after Komorowski had put Poland ahead, it appeared that South Africa had equalised when Siyabonga Sangweni found the back of the net with a header, but he was deemed to have been offside and the goal was ruled out.

Poland certainly had their chances to score earlier, but when Arkadiusz Piech was put clean through in the 26th minute after springing the offside trap, Khune denied him.

Shortly after that Artur Sobiech missed a gilt-edged chance to give the Poles the lead from only a couple of metres out. He, however, somehow got his feet in a tangle and completely missed an inviting cross that passed across the face of Khune’s goal.

‘We deserved something’

“Congratulations to Poland for the victory, but I believe we deserved something from the game,” Igesund said afterwards.

“I am not disappointed with the performance of my players, but I am unhappy that we gave away a very soft goal. I think we achieved what we wanted from this match.”

Assessing the game, Igesund added: “Poland started well, but Khune did well to keep us in the game. I also believe we did not have enough bodies in the box to punish them.

“It is better to lose games like these and be ready for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament because I am building a squad for that showpiece. It was a great test for us.”

‘He cans still improve’

Before the game, quite a lot was made of the selection of Ricardo Nunes at left-back. Igesund said: “He did reasonably well and he showed some quality. But I still believe he can still improve.”

Nunes was especially useful from free kicks, and Dikgacoi should have made better use of a pinpoint delivery from the defender early in the second half, but headed wide of the mark.

It was encouraging to see the South African team playing with a sense of urgency, which was something that had been missing at times before Igesund took over.

Defensive holes

There were some nice touches and clearly a desire to get forward but, with half the team having been changed, the passing was not sure enough and there were also some holes in the defence. Igesund will no doubt work on that before Bafana’s next outing against Kenya in Nairobi on Tuesday.

“It is a bitter pill to swallow, more so because we conceded so late in the match,” said Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo.

“We had some chances which we did not capitalise on and at this level we have to bury every opportunity we get, even half a chance.

“Be that as it may, we are forging ahead with our mission of preparing a team for Afcon, so we have to keep on fighting. We have to keep on working hard and the results will eventually come,” said the Greece-based defender.

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