Bafana Bafana forward Sibusiso Vilakazi has defended against criticism of the team’s performance in their AFCON opener against Ivory Coast.
Bafana suffered a 1-0 defeat in what was widely considered a lacklustre performance, failing to penetrate the Ivorian defence or getting enough attempts on goal.
Having watched on from the bench for three-quarters of the match, before replacing his Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Lebohang Maboe, Vilakazi has insisted there were some positives before arguing that criticising from the outside is much easier than being on the pitch.
“I think the game was pretty tight, to be honest. I think they pressed us more in terms of their defensive block between their midfielders and strikers,” Vila told reporters in Cairo this afternoon.
“So, we couldn’t find those penetrations to create chances easily for ourselves. We didn’t stretch the pitch enough when going forward or play those balls behind [their defence].
“A key point is that looking from the outside is much easier than inside. Where, maybe you could see from the outside that a player could have made a pass from there, but the angle from the inside wouldn’t give you an option to a pass.
“I always say thought, once you look from the outside it’s very clear and very easy, you could say there was so many options.
“But, once you’re inside, it’s very difficult and sometimes maybe not so difficult. There are times where what you see, I can’t see inside.”
Bafana now find themselves in a precarious situation, at risk of being knocked out of the tournament, and can only give themselves a fighting chance by demolishing COSAFA rivals Namibia.
“Every game when you enter a tournament is a must-win, doesn’t matter which game is it – even against Ivory Coast was a must-win,” said Vilakazi.
“There’s always going to be that pressure to win, so I think even now we don’t need to change anything. It’s all in the mind, we just need to respond.
“I think the boys will definitely respond. It’s going to be a better performance from the boys and it’s going to be a better result.”