DREAM DEFFERED: Bafana Bafana crash out of AFCON 2015

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - JANUARY 28, 2015

After a spirited fight, Bafana Bafana crashed out of the 2015 African Cup of Nations (Afcon), after losing 2-1 to Ghana. Two goals from Ghana in the second half obscured Mandla Masango's first half goal – relegating Bafana Bafana to the bottom of Group C.

In the other match, Algeria put 2 goals past Senegal as they qualified for the quarter finals as runners up to Ghana.

Bafana Bafana had started off positively in the first half and sent the nation cheering after Masango found the back of the net in the 17th minute.

They managed to keep the Ghanaians at bay for the remainder of the half.

However, the West Africans entered the second half with more energy as wave after wave of attacks punched holes in the Bafana defence line.

In the 73rd minute, the Ghanaians got their break when John Boye found a weakness in the South African defence.

From then on, Bafana Bafana were forced to focus on repelling relentless waves of attacks from the Black Stars who from then on dominated play.

At the 80th minute, Andre Ayew sealed Bafana Bafana’s fate as he headed home the second and winning goal for the four-time African champions.

Ghana qualified for the last eight top of the group followed by Algeria, while Senegal finished third on three points with South Africa at the foot of the table on one.

Shakes Mashaba assessment

In his post-match assessment, Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba said: "I think we gave it away again, for us to come out, score a goal and we couldn't consolidate. In the first half after we scored, we took the game to them, that's why they couldn't come, the biggest fall came out in the first 10 minutes of the second half, everybody went to sit back, all nine players sitting, we tried to push them up, we made changes, it didn't work out.

"I think we need to go back to our basics of playing football, knowing when to do things, how to do things, and where to do them. You need that ability to kill a game, that is one of the things I am talking about when we I talk about the basics. Why rush when you're one goal up, buy time, at that time you could have seen they were on a high, what should have was to kill the game, but we were knocking it back to them and they came at us and that's where the problem was."

Fikile Mbalula reaction

The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, who is known for his previous critical ‘bunch of losers’ assessment of Bafana Bafana, said it was not time to mourn.

“This means South Africa is out of the tournament but this is not a moment to drown ourselves in sorrow and sadness but a moment to reflect,” Mbalula said.

He said that winning Afcon was never an end goal for the country.

“We saw it as a journey and we expected to see a fearless and courageous team. Our boys demonstrated such and this was proven on the starling record our team and its coach Shakes had in their qualifier matches to Equatorial Guinea.”

Mbalula hailed coach Shakes Mashaba as “the best decision of South African Football Association” and added that he is happy with Bafana Bafana.

“I see future stars and great compatriots; we need to exercise patience, criticise with aim to build not to destroy and continue showing the team our support.”

Photo: Bafana Bafana had started off positively in the first half and sent the nation cheering after Masango found the back of the net in the 17th minute.