Mark Williams and Phil Masinga

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Former Bafana Bafana strikers tell where it went wrong

Posted: 12 November 2017 Time: 11:00

Former Bafana Bafana strikers Phil Masinga and Mark Williams have expressed their disappointment following the national team's failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. 

Masinga feels Bafana lost their chances to qualify in the back-to-back defeats to Cape Verde.

He holds the honour of scoring the cracking goal which helped Bafana qualify for their first ever World Cup held in France in 1998. Gone are the days when Bafana would call on heroes such as Masinga to save the day.

These days there’s a struggle for the national team to qualify for major competitions. Qualifying unbeaten for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations  (Afcon) under former coach Shakes Mashaba seemed to bring some hope, but the team has gone backwards since then.

When Bafana went into their World Cup qualifier against Senegal on Friday night, they needed a miracle to book themselves a ticket to football’s biggest spectacle. Despite going down 1-0 within the first 15 minutes of the game, the boys did not get their heads down and put the Senegalese defence under pressure, though they had nothing to show for it.

An own goal from right-back Thami Mkhize in the first half made the mission of getting a win unlikely. Now Bafana will go into their final Group D match against the Lions of Teranga on Tuesday with nothing but pride to play for.

It’s another failure to add onto Bafana’s list of shame.

“We deserved to win the game [against Senegal] but you know sometimes you don't wait for other people to do favours for you,” said a disappointed Masinga, who scored the winning goal against Congo at FNB Stadium in 1997 to book Bafana's spot at the 1998 World Cup.

“If we had done well against Cape Verde, we wouldn't be in the situation we are in right now. Those two games that we lost against Cape Verde are games that we were supposed to win for us to go forward.

“At least three points from Cape Verde was going to be better. Let them beat us in Praia and then we beat them here at home.”

Meanwhile Williams, who scored a brace to lead Bafana to their one and only AFCON title in 1996, echoed Masinga's sentiment.

“Before we look at everything else, me and Phil had a small talk about what happened. If we could've won the two games that we played against Cape Verde then it would've been a different ball game. They [Senegal] came out and said 'even if we get a draw we can get the result'. So it wasn't easy for Bafana.”

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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