Durban – An almost unfamiliar Bafana Bafana side defeated Tanzania 1-nil in an international friendly at the national stadium in Dar-es-Salaam on Saturday.
Defender Siyabonga Sangweni scored the only goal in the match with his header bringing the first half to a close.
South Africa was impressive in the first half, securing most of the ball possession. This was promising as the national side was missing its big stars.
Earlier this week, Ajax Cape Town refused to release Thulani Serero, Thulani Hlatshwayo and George Maluleka for national duty.
Kaizer Chiefs then also forbid Siphiwe Tshabalala, Itumeleng Khune and Reneilwe Letsholonyane from joining the squad.
Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane was forced to prepare for the friendly with new faces, including goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands.
Morgan Gould was captain in the absence of Tshabalala and Siyanda Zwane, Hlompho Kekana, Erwin Isaacs were among those who wore the green and gold for the first time.
Despite a hauling of the team, Bafana still came through, creating an early chance in the first 15 minutes. Sangweni failed to capitalise on a corner kick by choosing to play the ball back instead of shooting for goal.
Sangweni, though, didn’t make the same mistake twice, and captured his second international goal.
Tanzania came to life in the second half though with some bursts of attacking football.
Tanzanian striker John Bocco’s header was wide of the target and Salum Machaku tested Sandilands, who made a good save, around the 83rd minute.
Gould and Sangweni were able to keep Tanzania off the score sheet. The host’s had their goal ruled off side after Shaban Nditi found the back of the net.
The Bafana coach made five substitutions in the second half, handing further debuts to Thabo Matlaba, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Erick Mathoho and Prince Hlela.
“It was not an easy match, especially in the second half, they have a very good team despite playing with mainly local-based players. Half of my starting eleven were new caps, but I believe they handled it well… I am comfortable now that we have depth and I am very happy with the result. We have to keep on winning to keep the momentum as we have two away matches in Cairo and Niger in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, so this was a good result for us playing away,” said Mosimane.
Gould had loads of praised for the inexperienced side: “It was a difficult game, and being captain meant I had to push the troops but credit to all the players who stood firm in difficult circumstances…The last 20 minutes we could not play at all, but we survived the onslaught from the Taifa Stars. We fought really hard and in the end we got the victory. Once again, I am glad I was given the chance to captain my country,” said Gould.
Bafana will next meet Egypt in Cairo on 5 June in an African Cup of Nations qualifier. – Kemantha Govender, BuaNews