FRANCISTOWN: New Zebras coach, David Bright watched haplessly as a relatively young Bafana Bafana outplayed his charges and took a 2-0 away lead into the second leg of the Total Africa Nations Championship (CHAN).
Bafana added to the Zebras’ downward spiral that started over a year ago. The Francistown Sports Complex is slowly turning into a theatre of nightmares, with attendance at a record low.
The visitors were more comfortable on the ball and dictated possession in the opening 10 minutes. In the fifth minute, the visitors had two free kicks near the box but failed to make them count. Zebras were tamed in their half and failed to negotiate meaningful attacks into the South African box.
It took close to the half hour mark for Bafana to burst the dam. On the 27thminute, Riyaad Norodien laid a pass to Ryan Moon; he skipped the first defender before last man, Simisani Mathumo, sold himself with a mistimed tackle. The striker went past Mathumo and clinically beat the hapless Mwampule Masule to the far post.
After the goal, Zebras enjoyed the better possession but pressed far from the danger area. They went to a break without a shot on target. From the dugout, Bright made a few early changes bringing on Thabang Sesinyi and Lemponye Tshireletso for Hendrick Moyo and Thero Setsile, but still they failed to penetrate the Bafana defence.
The sole livewire for the Zebras, Kabelo Seakanyeng wasted a half chance when he controlled neatly from a rebound in front of the box but showed a lot of the ball, the defenders reacted quickly to close him down.
In the 72nd minute, Bafana extended their lead when
It could have been three five minutes later but the crossbar came to Masule’s rescue when Sibusiso Khumalo climbed higher and redirected Norodien’s corner. The visitors took the foot off the pedal to wind the clock and watched as the home side huffed and puffed to the end.
“We were a bit erratic in the first half but we played better on the ball although we could not penetrate the South Africa’s defence. We need to beef up with a few experienced players ahead of the second leg,” Bright said after the game.
South Africa’s Stuart Baxter was impressed with his young charges and the away win. “We knew what we had to do and we were disciplined the entire game and obviously I am delighted with a win away from home.”
Mwampule Masule, Thabo Leinanyane, Kaelo Kgaswane, Simisane Mathumo, Silvester Leririma, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Kabelo Seakanyeng (Tapiwa Gadibolae), Richard Legwaila, Hendrick Moyo (Thabang Sesinyi), Tumisang Orebonye, Thero Setsile (Lemponye Tshireletso)
Boalefa Pule, Siyabonga Nhlapo, Tercious Malepe, Mario Booysen, Mothibi Nvala, Sibusiso Khumalo, Teboho Mokoena (Jamie Webber), Cole Alexander (Sphelele Ntshingase), Ryan Moon, Riyaad Norodien (Malebogo Modise), Gift Mutupa