Bafana Bafana player ratings
Posted: 25 May 2010 Time: 09:40
KICK OFF rates South Africa's players after their 1-1 draw against Bulgaria in Monday's international friendly played at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
BAFANA BAFANA PLAYERS: 7 Itumeleng Khune – It was a walk in the park for most of the game for Khune. But his distribution, positioning and communication is worth a mention. For the whole game he was talking to his defence and at some stage in the second half he ran all the way to the halfway mark to communicate a message to Gaxa. He was on 'holiday' no doubt, but 'Itu' was equal to the task when called upon and even had to save Mokoena's blushes after a rather poor back pass. He could do nothing of Bulgaria's equaliser as his ball watching defence let him down. 6 Siboniso Gaxa – 'Pa' was as good defensively as he was in attack, making a lot of runs up and down the right flank. It was refreshing too to see him get in his crosses into the box for a change and his exchange of passes with his fellow defenders was good, especially in the first half, as they kept the ball on the ground and found space to link with the midfielders. Because of all the changes at halftime, he appeared a bit lost early on in the second half. 6 Lucas Thwala – he makes an inch perfect box tackle for a corner in the 28th minute denying Valeri Bojinov a cross that could have otherwise created problems. The downside to Thwala is his inability to overlap, something that gives Masilela the edge in the fight for the left back position. 6 Bongani Khumalo – he was calm when under attack and his combination was better with Sangweni. Perhaps he should communicate a little more. Khumalo, a reserved guy naturally, could have alerted Sangweni when the latter was out of position for Bulgaria's equaliser and with a little talking the danger could have been averted perhaps. 6 Siyabonga Sangweni – gives Bafana the lead in the 19th minute, but then goes from hero to zero when he is caught out of position and Valeri Bojinov had time and space to control the ball Georgi Peev's cross on the right to fire past Khune. He too must not always wait for Khune to kick start a conversation. *8 Thanduyise Khuboni – comfortable on the ball and picks up his teammates with some fine passing across central midfield and to the wings. Shows he's got some big engine when he constantly helps out in attack and in defending. It was 'Gonondo's third man of the match award in as many games for Bafana and no doubt the 23-year-old is a star in the making. For a defensive midfielder to impress South Africans takes some doing. 6 Reneilwe Letsholonyane – for the 45 minutes he played in the first stanza 'Yeye' won a few challenges, particularly the one when he won a tackle from a Bulgaria player who was not far from Khune's box and recovered quickly enough to make a pass to midfield. His work rate, therefore, was relatively good. 6 Teko Modise – looks comfortable on the ball and in just the first 10 minutes gets the crowd going with some cool passing and some dribbling. It was clear he had been told to go out there and enjoy himself in his 50th appearance, but doesn't go the full distance as he runs out of steam in the second half. 5 Surprise Moriri – committing a few fouls in the first half and his back is often facing the route to goal, making it difficult for him to turn as he is not the fastest of players and in the process losing possession quite a bit and he was not of much help to Mphela playing as a second striker. He basically had the game to forget. 7 Siphiwe Tshabalala – didn't have the best of games in the second half, but his set pieces could make a huge difference in future for Bafana. He's grown in confidence since the Brazil camp, but what is good to see is his willingness to test the keepers with the free kicks. His corner to find Sangweni at the back post for Bafana's goal was good if anything. 6 Katlego Mphela – 'Killer' hardly had a shot at goal, except for his powerful 25-yard free kick which was saved by Mihaylov. He hardly threatened but to be fair he was isolated. 5 Aaron Mokoena – later in the game he made a heart stopping back pass that Khune had to clear for a thrown-in. He definitely didn't play better than Sangweni, who he replaced at halftime. 7 Tsepo Masilela – earns a corner in his first few touches after combining with Mphela and tearing down the left flank for the start of the second half and because of his constant attacking he rarely defended. Masilela had the Bulgaria right back on the ropes and it was the one area that Bafana played out well in the second half, despite Bulgaria's dominance in this half and credit to Masilela for taking the fight to the opposition's right back. 5 Kagisho Dikgacoi – he made a lot of passes sideways to the wings, but that's as far as it went. 'KG' could have done better to make some runs forward rather than always looking for an easy way out of passing the ball away to his teammates, who in most cases were tightly marked and had to pass backwards which subsequently killed off an attack too many. But he did make one pass to Gaxa in the 82nd minute that led to a corner. He could have done a lot more of the same. 5 Bernard Parker – perhaps he could have done better had he played more than the 20 minutes he got. He was playing too deep in midfield. 5 Siyabonga Nomvete – appeared anxious at times and lost quite a few balls thanks to overrunning the ball. 5 Franklin Cale – he was perhaps desperate to impress Parreira trying to make a lot of runs but most were miscalculated leading to the opposition winning back the ball. After last night's performance he will be lucky to make it to the final 23-man squad for the World Cup, bearing in mind Parreira's Brazilian is not designed for wingers.