Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim Mashaba was left frustrated as his side let go of chance on Saturday as they were held to a goalless draw by Gambia.

Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim Mashaba was left frustrated as his side let go of chance on Saturday, 13 June as they were held to a goalless draw by Gambia in Durban.

The home side got off to a very slow start to the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 qualifiers.

After dominating most of the match, Bafana Bafana could not hit the target at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

This was the first meeting between the two nations, and with the visitors out of international football for two years due to a ban, the home side were expected to do better.

Bafana Bafana created goal scoring opportunities but failed to convert. Sphelele Ntshangase, Thuso Phala and Thamsanqa Gabuza all had glorious chances to find the back the net but could not.

“The boys gave their best, it was just unfortunate they could not score. We started like a house on fire but we were coming straight at them, thus playing into their hands and they dealt with us. But in the second half we used a lot of width and they couldn’t cope but the goals still did not come,” said Mashaba.

“Again we created a lot of chances but can’t score – in fact I counted about 12 chances in the first half alone – it is something we really have to work on because it is a South African problem. We play good football but without goals it doesn’t matter, we have to seriously do something about this but we can’t solve it at national team level, we have to get it sorted at grassroots level.”

With only one nation qualifying for the final tournament in Gabon, Mashaba is well aware that a better result is needed in the next match.

“Of course if you look at the log after the first round of matches, you will realise we could have done better. We drew at home and now we have to go to Gambia and win and those are the kind of pressures we are worried about. A win here would have made life easier, now our next match is a must-win as we don’t want to play catch-up. We have to be on course, set the pace and not follow,” added Mashaba.

South Africa will host Mauritania in the 2017 AFCON qualifier which will be played in September 2015 at a venue still to be announced.

“Compared to the 2015 AFCON qualifiers this time around we have to wait for a while before our next match, it is also not helping. Back then we played back to back match and the team kept it’s consistency, but now our next match is in three months’ time and when we get together we have to start afresh,” said Mashaba.

Meanwhile, midfielder Oupa Manyisa, who was taken off in the first half after a knock on the shin and replaced by Mandla Masango, will still be assessed by the medical team.

Bafana Bafana are in Cape Town to take on Angola in an international friendly at the Cape Town Stadium. The clash will take place on Tuesday, 16 June. Kick-off is at 15h00.

South Africa’s 2017 AFCON Fixtures:

South Africa 0-0 Gambia 13, June 2015 (played)
Mauritania vs South Africa 4, 5, 6 September 2015
Cameroon vs South Africa 23,24, 25, 26 March 2016
South Africa vs Cameroon 26, 27, 28, 29 March 2016
Gambia vs South Africa 3, 4, 5 June 2016
South Africa vs Mauritania 2, 3, 4 September 2016

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