Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba was a happy man after his side registered a win over a stubborn and hard-running Angola in an international friendly match on Tuesday at the Cape Town Stadium. The visitors came into this match on the back of a convincing win in their 2017 AFCON qualifier when they walloped the Central African Republic 4-0 on Saturday. This was the eighth meeting between the two nations with Bafana Bafana having the upper hand with five wins, while the other matches were drawn.
The last time they faced each other was two years ago at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in Durban, a clash South Africa won 2-0 with goals from Siyabonga Sangweni and Lehlohonolo Majoro. In Cape Town, Mashaba made four changes to the squad that drew 0-0 against Gambia three days earlier in Durban. Patrick Phungwayo, Clayton Daniels, Bongani Zungu and Jabulani Shongwe had been brought in for Thabo Matlaba, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Andile Jali and Oupa Manyisa.
South Africa came back from a goal down to register a well-deserved 2-1 victory with goals in either side of the half from Thamsanqa Gabuza and Ayanda Patosi, even though it appeared to be an own goal. Mashaba says: ‘This was one of the toughest games we have played in a long time. What I liked about Angola is that they did not come here to park a bus – they attacked from the word go. Their level of match intelligence is very high – they also attacked in numbers and did the same when defending. But our nippy kind of football dismantled them, our boys were very good in combinations. Even though we scored two goals and won the game, the problem of finishing was still evident but this was a good preparation match for our upcoming game against Mauritius. It gave us more or less of the same of what to expect even though not at the same level in terms of skills and attacking football. Our boys did very well and we are very happy about the outcome, the victory was what we were looking for and it came at the right time. What pleased me more with our play was when we were going forward. We even got to the opposition’s goal area but their goalkeeper was good as well.’
Mashaba says he is proud his players did not drop their heads even though results were not forthcoming the past few matches: ‘The boys did not lose hope, they gave their all. Having not won for the past many games did not make the players drop their heads, but they kept on grinding and that is why today they were able to come out with a win. Also, the inability to score goals gets to the players because it is over-emphasised. When players get to that area they start thinking what happens if I miss, and unfortunately in that area you need to make a split decision – have to act now or you have lost it.’ South Africa suffered two injuries in the match with defenders Clayton Daniels and Anele Ngcongca taken off with knocks. They will be assessed by the medical team to check the extent of their injuries – according to the team doctor they didn’t look serious.
Mashaba also gave a first cap to Bonginkosi Ntuli while Itumeleng Khune broke a long-standing record of the most-capped goalkeeper when he appeared in his 68th match for South Africa – one more than Andre Arendse. Bafana Bafana’s next match is against Mauritius – a CHAN qualifier which will take place at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday. Kick-off is at 15:00.
Mashaba will be without several players as they will have to return to their clubs, including the overseas-based – they are not eligible to play in this tournament which is for players plying their trade in their home country. He is expected to call up replacements.
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