17 October 2012
Bafana Bafana, showing three changes from the team that went down to Poland on Friday, ran out 2-1 winners over Kenya in an international friendly played in Nairobi on Tuesday to maintain coach Gordon Igesund’s 100 percent record against African opposition.
Four matches into his reign as coach, Igesund has seen his charges beat Mozambique 2-0 and Kenya 2-1 and go down 1-0 to the Poles and Brazil.
Speaking after the game in Nairobi, Igesund said: “It was a very difficult win for us, and the pitch was not that playable, but it’s in such conditions that will help us mentally. We played the percentage game and the not the beautiful game and we pushed them to make mistakes.
‘The boys showed a lot of character’
He added: “The boys showed a lot of character. I’m not overly excited with the win, but the effort, performance and attitude was great. We are not there yet. We still need to play as a unit.”
Igesund also made it clear that Bafana Bafana are a work in progress, saying: “I am just disappointed with the goal we conceded. We should not allow teams to score goals like that. But overall it was a good exercise in terms of what we set out to do. I would say at the moment we are about 75 percent of where we should be.
“We are taking good strides forward and I was happy with the passion of the players.
“There are still about five or six players that I want to have a look at and then maybe my squad for Afcon will be complete,” he concluded.
Despite the sub-standard pitch, Bafana shaded the game and were worthy winners, although the continued failure to convert scoring opportunities will concern Igesund; his striking selections in his first four matches in charge have included 34-year-olds Siyabonga Nomvethe and Benni McCarthy and one wonders when the next consistent goal scorer will be found.
As Igesund suggested, the South African defence was creaky at times, and it broke on one occasion.
The three changes to the starting eleven were goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands taking over from Itumeleng Khune, Thabo Nthete starting ahead of Luvhengo Mungomeni, and Tokelo Rantie replacing Sifiso Myeni.
Midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala had an excellent chance to give South Africa an early lead at the Nyayo National Stadium, but he miscued his shot from close range and failed to challenge the goalkeeper.
Rantie then had an opportunity for a shot, but his effort was well wide. In the 20th minute, however, he found the mark.
Lerato Chabangu picked out Rantie with a superb ball and the Malmo striker ran onto it with only the goalie to beat. He gave Arnold Origi no chance with a strong shot to score his second goal in three outings for South Africa and put Bafana Bafana ahead.
Rantie was full of running and created another good chance on the half-hour mark. Unfortunately, his shot was straight at the goalkeeper.
Kenya thought they had won a penalty just before the break, but the referee instead showed Welsey Kemboi a yellow card for diving.
Dino Ndlovu, on for Rantie in the second half, almost scored after a goal mouth scramble from a corner kick delivered by Ricard Nunes, but it was Kenya who next found the back of the net.
Bafana skipper Bongani Khumalo was penalised for a handball in the 72nd minute and Dennis Oliech converted the opportunity from the spot to level the scores at 1-1. That lead didn’t last long, however.
Three minutes later, Kenyan defender Christopher Wekesa found the back of his own net from a cross by Bernard Parker and Bafana Bafana were back in front.
The Kenyans, ranked 52 places below South Africa, pushed hard for an equaliser, but couldn’t find a way past Sandilands, who had a quiet day apart from the penalty that beat him.
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