Mokoena backs Bafana despite losing streak

Aaron Mokoena insisted South Africa’s players are still positive despite their run of six defeats

A 1-0 defeat to Ireland on Tuesday night means they have not won since beating New Zealand in the Confederations Cup in June.

But the Bafana Bafana skipper says there are plenty of positives to be found in recent performances.

“It does not affect the players at all,” he said, “It’s disappointing not to win when we play well and control the game but for us we’re building toward winning and that’s what the coach is working toward.

“It can be disappointing not to get anything from these games but I’m positive from the build up we’ve had that it’s a process and with the positives we’ve had from these games we’ll get there.

“There are a lot of positives for the team from these two games in Ireland and Germany, especially as we had some players who are only on a couple of caps and it’s good for the manager to assess these players and whether they can cope at this level.

“We had a lot of possession tonight, I think it was 68%.

“We made it difficult for Ireland, which, when playing them at home, is never easy.”

Ireland fielded an experimental team that was without eight players from their preferred starting lineup. But Mokoena was keen to point out that, though they may not be regular starters, most of Ireland’s replacements are playing in the upper levels of British football.

“We made it difficult for them, that’s our way of play,” said Mokoena, who won his 93rd cap on the night.

“With the players they have that are playing in the Premier League, I don’t think it was a weak side at all. There are a lot of players in the Ireland team that are respected in England, so I wouldn’t say it was weak at all.

“In fact, we want to have a team that we can make eight changes to, like Ireland.”

Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni was happy with the victory and declared himself vindicated by the performances of some of his fringe players.

“Yesterday, I said I would look for us to play better than in Cyprus and I was looking for personality and performance from my new players,” explained the Italian coach.

“We had some new players who had only played one game for us and I am happy that they confirmed my opinions about them.
Having seen Liam Lawrence at his club, I was happy to see his performance and it confirmed by opinion of him. That gives me hope to have a bigger squad.

“I knew South Africa would have a lot of possession, I saw many of their games before, they are fast, technical and with good players, so I knew that. It was important for us to be compact.”—Sapa-AFP

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