MASHABA SHAKES SUDAN IN AFCON QUALIFIERS
By: Nomfundo Zuma
The new Bafana Bafana mentor, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba got his second tenure off to a dream start, defeating Sudan by 3-0 in Al-Marreikh on Friday night.
A brace from second half substitute Sibusiso Vilakazi and a debut goal from Bongani Ndulula were enough for Bafana Bafana to secure all three away points. Mashaba’s men did not have a strong first stanza.
Sudan looked the stronger of the two teams before the end of the first half. But Bafana goalkeeper and captain on the night, Senzo Meyiwa, made some telling stops to deny the hosts the perfect start.
However the visitors got the first real chance of the game when Sudan goalkeeper Moez Mahjoub couldn’t hold onto a cross from the right hand-side but Tokelo Rantie failed to capitalize. The encounter went to halftime a scoreless draw with Sudan looking the better of the two teams.
South Africa started the second stanza looking likely to score and pulling all the strings. Super sub of the night Vilakazi, who took Rantie’s place, broke the deadlock in the 55th minute.
The Amazulu marks man, Bongani Ndulula could have doubled the score line but kicked his powerless shot straight to the keeper. A minute later Vilakazi came back to register his first ever national team brace as he dribbled past defenders and fired home a cracker.
Another substitute in Oupa Manyisa, played some tricks and delivered a cross that found Ndulula who tapped it past the helpless Sudanese goal-minder.
Even though the team was deemed a young and inexperienced one, they displayed a great deal of character.
Vilakazi believes that Friday’s victory will go a long way to solidifying the team’s efforts and confidence as they proceed with their Afcon Cup Qualifying campaign.
“That is one philosophy coach Shakes Mashaba has been drumming home now and I am seeing the attitude of players has tremendously changed. They are prepared to die for the cause, work for each other and want to bring pride and happiness to the country,” He said.
The next fixture for Bafana Bafana is against the reining champions, Nigeria, in Cape Town on Wednesday, 10 September.