BAFANA Bafana played to a 1-1 draw against neighbours Botswana in their second match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Group A clash took place today at the University of Botswana Stadium in the capital Gaborone.
In their opening match of the qualifiers, South Africa drew by the same scoreline against Ethiopia while Botswana lost to Central Africa Republic – so both teams were in need of maximum points.
This was caretaker coach Steve Komphela’s first game in charge after former coach Pitso Mosimane and the South African Football Association parted ways earlier in the week.
An early goal from a Morgan Gould header seemed to put Bafana Bafana on course for all three points, but Botswana struck back before the break through Ofentse Nato after a goalmouth commotion.
The Zebras certainly looked the likelier scorers early on, but Bafana Bafana weathered the early storm from the hosts and took control of the game. On 14 minutes they broke the deadlock, with Morgan Gould scoring his first international goal by heading home at the near post from Steven Pienaar’s corner kick.
The visitors went on to create several good chances to extend their lead, but found Kabelo Dambe a difficult man to beat. The goalkeeper made a particularly fine save to keep out Katlego Mphela in the 27 th minute after some great set-up play by Siyabonga Nomvethe.
Just over ten minutes later Botswana levelled the game at 1-1. A quick throw-in from the right flank saw Jerome Ramatlhakwana cause trouble in the Bafana penalty area, before midfielder Ofentse Nato was able to force the ball home after seeing an initial effort well blocked.
Siphiwe Tshabalala almost restored Bafana’s lead eight minutes into the second half with a superb long range effort that looked destined for the top corner, but Dambe produced the save of the match to turn the ball behind for a corner kick.
Bafana Bafana substitutes Tokelo Rantie and Teko Modise helped to liven up the visitors’ attack, while Free State Stars’ Mzikayise Mashaba replaced Punch Masenamela at left-back after the defender picked up a yellow card.
But in the end it remained 1-1.
“When we got our goal we thought this is it, but it was not to be. We have said this has to stop because it is frustrating the players and everyone…..the nation deserves better. But we are optimistic that we will get back on track,” said Komphela
“We believe we should have won the match because we did everything right just that we could not find the result we were looking for. There is still a long road to travel, but we are not happy with two points out of a possible six, with four matches to go. But we can’t give up now.”
“This is a match we should have won, but again we did not convert our chances. We really wanted three points but it did not happen, and we should also not be too harsh on ourselves because this could be a crucial point in the end. But we just have to keep on fighting,” said Bafana Bafana captain Steven Pienaar.
Ethiopia will host CAR next week Sunday
Bafana Bafana’s next 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier will be away to CAR on March 22 next year.
Remaining Group A Fixtures:
10/06/2012 Ethiopia v CAR
22/03/2013 South Africa v CAR
22/03/2013 Ethiopia v Botswana
07/06/2013 Botswana v Ethiopia
07/06/2013 CAR v South Africa
14/06/2013 Botswana v CAR
14/06/2013 Ethiopia v South Africa
06/09/2013 South Africa v Botswana
06/09/2013 CAR v Ethiopia
The players have been given time off and will only return to camp on to prepare for the international friendly match against Gabon that will be played this coming Friday at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
This is how they lined up:
Dambe, Motlhabankwe, Ohilwe, Letsholathebe, Thuma, Nato, Mogorosi, Motsepe (Moloi 84’), Ramatlhakwana, Ngele (Moatlhaping 59’), Tshireletso (Mongala 62’)
South Africa :
Itumeleng Khune, Anele Ngcongca, Punch Masenamela (Mzikayise Mashaba 59’), Morgan Gould, Bongani Khumalo, Thanduyise Khuboni, Steven Pienaar (c), Oupa Manyisa, Siphiwe Tshabalala (Teko Modise 68’), Katlego Mphela, Siyabonga Nomvethe (Tokelo Rantie 59’).-www.safa.net