Bafana draw with Namibia
A goal 20 minutes from time netted by Katlego Mphela saved Bafana Bafana blushes and earned the World Cup hosts a 1-1 draw against minnows Namibia in a friendly international played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday night.
Bafana, who went back to their showboating tactics in a dull first-half thanks to their captain Teko Modise and Lebogang “Cheeseboy” Mokoena, should have scored an avalanche of goals. But the showboating, dribbling and passing sideways played right into Namibia’s hands.
It was only in the second-half after a few choice words from head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira that Bafana started showing their hunger and drive against the Brave Warriors who lived up to their nickname.
The match produced more questions than answers for Parreira against their 109th world ranked neighbours. Bafana started to toy with Namibia from the start but again failed to learn that showboating does not win games.
Bafana were not helped by a referee from Malawi called Dennis Nguluwe who looked overawed by the occasion. But that is still no excuse to draw at home against a team made up of mostly part-timers 99 days before playing Mexico in the opening match of the Soccer World Cup on June 11.
A worried man
Parreira who names his squad on Thursday to travel to Brazil for an extended training camp must be a worried man. But at least the face-saving draw means he goes to Brazil unbeaten in four official matches. However, his only win was a 3-0 drubbing of Zimbabwe at the same venue in January.
Bafana were all over Namibia in the opening 40 minutes or so but the longer the game went without Bafana scoring, the more they allowed Namibia to gain confidence.
Modise and Mokoena persisted in needless dribbling in the opening 45 minutes. They dribbled themselves in circles and got nowhere. Mokoena was replaced at halftime by Tlou Segolela who added more urgency in the midfield.
Namibia allowed their hosts to keep possession and soaked up the pressure and caught Bafana on the counter-attack.
None of Bafana’s World Cup Group A opponents, Mexico, Uruguay or France will be losing any sleep about facing Bafana in June after Wednesday’s performance.
In fact they will be laughing their heads off. If Bafana cannot beat a side ranked 109th in the world then former world champions
Uruguay, France and 17th ranked Mexico will have little to fear when the soccer showpiece gets underway.
The only goal of the first half came three minutes from the interval when Razundara Tjukuzu exposed Bafana left-back Bradley Carnell and his pass found Rudolf Bester who easily slotted past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to put Namibia 1-0 ahead.
Bafana’s chances during the first half were few and far between, with Namibia keeper Attiel Mbaha doing well to save from Katlego Mphela in the 22nd minute and handled a tame tap from Modise with ease seven minutes later.
Keeping up the pressure
Bafana piled forward in the second half and created chances but failed to penetrate. Modise had the fans howling for his blood and wanting him substituted when he missed the target again in the 63rd minute. But Parreira stuck by his out-of-form midfielder.
But the pressure told in the end when another substitute Bryce Moon laid on an inch-perfect cross from Mphela who thudded the equaliser in the 70th minute to the delight of the enthusiastic 35 000-strong crowd.
A shot from another substitute Reneilwe Letsholonyane screamed over the crossbar in the 88th minute, ensuring the Namibians held on for a much-deserved draw.—Sapa