BITTER-SWEET VICTORY FOR BAFANA
By Nhlanhla Ndlovu
Bafana Bafana’s 4-1 win over Botswana at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday afternoon meant nothing in terms of qualifying for the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Kermit Erasmus and Dean Durman scored in the first half but Jerome Ramatlhakwna pulled one back in the second half. Bernard Parker finished the game with a brace to give the home side a convincing victory.
However, the outstanding results for Bafana were spoilt by the results between Ethiopia and Central African Republic as the group leaders won their final match away in Congo Brazzaville by 2-1.
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund was happy with the results but disappointed that they failed to qualify for playoff. “Nobody is to blame for not qualifying. We are disappointed and we accept that,” Igesund told a reporter after the game.
The home side started dominating from the start and wasted lot of scoring opportunities. In the 7th minute, the England based midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi had a chance to put his side in front early on but his shot outside the box was blocked back to him and he failed to finish off the second attempt forcing Kabelo Dambe to make a double save.
Just before the hour, visitors committed a corner kick which was taken by Siphiwe Tshabalala in the 28th minute which was played into the far post, allowing Erasmus to come in late to send his header into the roof of the net, 1-0.
Dambe was forced to make another excellent save in the 32nd minute as he tapped over the crossbar a shot sent to the top corner by Parker.
In the additional time of the first half Dean Furman received a square ball from Parker inside the box and he placed a low shot to the inside of the far post giving Dambe no chance to increase the score into 2-0 just before half time.
Bafana came back in the second half with the same attacking spirit but in the 73rd minute, poor defending from Bongani Khumalo and Thabo Nthethe gave Ramatlhakwna a chance to pull one goal back for the visitor from a close range after connecting with the cross from left by Joel Mogorosi.
In the last 10 minutes of the game, the visitors seemed tired and they allowed Igesund’s boys to play on their behalf. In the 84th minute, Tokelo Rantie was brought down just outside the box and referee from Senegal Badara Diatta awarded a free kick. Parker stood up to take the free kick and he curled the ball to the far bottom corner to make the score 3-1.
Igesund introduced Daine Klate to the match in the dying stages of the game and within five minutes on the field, he was brought down inside the box and Diatta pointed the spot kick.
Kaizer Chiefs striker, Parker took it to complete his brace and to increase the score into 4-1.