The Monday Column: No room for error
Posted: 4 September 2017 Time: 13:03
After their defeat to Cape Verde in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on Friday, KickOff.com editor Tshepang Mailwane has called on Stuart Baxter's men to get their campaign back on track.
On Friday night I had it all figured out. I got some snacks, a bottle of the good stuff and put my feet up on the table as I looked forward to a great night of football.
I was ready to watch Bafana Bafana beat Cape Verde in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Praia. I was so confident of a win that I would have put money on the national team getting a victory. Good thing I didn't in the end.
When Tokelo Rantie opened the scoring for Bafana in the early stages of the first period with a neat finish, I believed that my night would be as great as the afternoon Bafana Bafana beat Nigeria 2-0 in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo in June.
That was such a good victory and many South Africans, including myself, believed Bafana would get another positive result against Cape Verde, who had not picked up a point going into their clash with Stuart Baxter’s men.
But, as has been the case with Bafana in previous years, they failed to build on a promising result.
Not that I am underestimating Cape Verde, but it was the best chance for Bafana to get three points away from home because it sure as hell won’t be easy to get maximum points in their final group match against Senegal in Dakar in November.
Senegal are still not over the 2-1 defeat they suffered to Bafana in November last year, so they will go all out to make sure Bafana do leave Dakar with a single point. Bafana therefore don't want to go there needing to win at all costs, although that might end up being the case.
So as Bafana head into their two remaining qualifiers at home, including the one against Cape Verde at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday, there is no more room for error.
Baxter would do well to make some changes to the team after the disappointing result on Friday.
With Mulomowandau Mathoho out serving a suspension for his unnecessary red card, Morgan Gould would be the perfect replacement to play alongside captain Thulani Hlatshwayo.
Gould, an experienced campaigner, has been in fine form for SuperSport United over the last year and would certainly thrive under the pressure Bafana are in to deliver on home soil.
In midfield, Dean Furman did not have a good game at all and Andile Jali would no doubt give Bafana the muscle they need in the centre of the park.
Rantie remains a threat upfront with his pace and should definitely get the nod again to start as the main striker, but he just needs to get the right service.
This is where Bafana have to deliver because we cannot afford to miss out on World Cup qualification again. We are meant to move forward, not backwards.