Bafana lessons learnt from 2014 CHAN opener
Posted: 13 January 2014 Time: 08:30
The 2014 African Nations Championships kicked off on Saturday night, and the hosts did not disappoint, putting Mozambique to the sword with a 3-1 win at Cape Town Stadium.
The match was lit up by a pile-driver from Hlompho Kekana; the only surprise that the ball didn’t rip the net.
The performance was far from being fine-tuned though. This was to be expected as the team had not played any competitive games together to build combinations and forge out cohesion.
As some players were new to the set-up and the side was new to us, going forward into the subsequent games of the tournament we now know what to expect. This is what we learnt from that match:
* The left-back position has always been problematic for Bafana, with regular Tsepo Masilela prone to injuries, and the replacements have not been convincing when given a chance. Given that the coach has asked the public to be patient with him regarding calling up youngsters, not many expected him to call a young lad to fill the gap left by Masilela’s injury. Nevertheless, he gave a chance to Thato Mokeke, a 20-year-old from Ajax Cape Town. His performance was stable and hardly showed any signs of nerves. Going forward, Igesund has added a new player to choose from in the left-back pool, and this one looks good for the future.
* Lerato Chabangu is perhaps still in a festive mood; his performance against the Mambas was well below par. He seemed lost at all times, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t start another game at CHAN. Lerato probably needs a break. The best of him will come after that.
* Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mashego has confirmed what many knew all along. International football is beyond his means, and the times of convincing us otherwise are over. This will probably be his last outing with Bafana, even if he tops the PSL scoring charts.
* Kekena could be the one to benefit most from this tournament and instill himself as a Bafana regular. Bafana are blessed with talent in midfield, and with Reneilwe Letsholonyane out injured and the other regulars also absent, the Sundowns man will make his case in this tournament. We can then talk about who he should replace when everyone is available againshall talk then, who should he dispose of in the Bafana regular midfield packing order.
*Follow Thato on Twitter @ThatoB_