/ 14 January 2008

Bafana win warm-up against Moz

Bafana Bafana earned a pass mark from their 2-0 warm-up win against Mozambique at Chatsowrth Stadium on Sunday afternoon and demonstrated sufficient potential to view the coming African Cup of Nations with a degree of optimism.

It took Bafana a nervy, at times tedious, 63 minutes to open the score with a classy, pivoted goal from Sibusiso Zuma after the Arminia Bielefeld striker had missed three easier opportunities.

Despite their clinical, meticulous play on the ball, the Mozambicans finishing was generally of a powder-puff variety and they rarely gave any indication of equalising.

And, with full time beckoning, substitute Lerato Chabangu placed the outcome beyond doubt with Bafana’s second goal after substitute Mozambican goallkeeper Victor Suarez could only parry the ball to the feet of the Mamelodi Sundowns player while making a desperate save.

Starting with a 4-5-1 formation and captain Aaron Mokoena playing in mid-field, Bafana impressed with the manner in which they retained possession.

But the confidence needed to transform midfield dominance into goals was generally missing prior to Zuma’s breakthrough — after which the home team demonstrated greater composure and confirmed the psychological value of taking the lead.

Yet, it would be foolhardy to place excessive importance on the outcome of the game in steamy Durban, with Angola, who are Bafana’s first opponents in the African Cup of Nations, likely to be more professional and physically powerful than their Mozambican counterparts.

Also, the Mozambique domestic season has been in recess for some time and their players had good reason not to be razor-sharp.

Bafana coach Carlos Albert Parreira introduced a succession of substitutes in the second half, but the line-up for the watershed game against Angola is unlikely to change much, if at all, from that which started the proceedings against Mozambique.

In the meantime, Bafana face Botswana in the second and last warm-up game at the same venue on Wednesday. – Sapa