A mistake by Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng, a red card to debutant Siyabonga Zulu and two further goals for Mauritania were enough for the home side to send South Africa home with no points.
A mistake by Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng, a red card to debutant Siyabonga Zulu and two further goals for Mauritania were enough for the home side to send South Africa home with no points in a CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations clash played on Saturday, 5 September in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
This was probably Bafana Bafana’s worst showing in a long time to leave Shakes Mashaba’s charges at the bottom of Group M with just one point after two matches.
Mashaba admitted as much when the squad landed from Mauritania on Sunday, 6 September.
“I must admit we did not play well at all against Mauritania. Furthermore the mistake by the keeper and the red card did not help matters, as well as injuries to key players towards the end of the game. Credit must go to the home side for the way they played but on a good day they are team that should not beat us – it is a pity we did not come to the party and it has cost us valuable three points. But take nothing away from them, they play as a team and are very passionate with some players with individual skill,” said a disappointed Mashaba.
“I have never seen my team played like they did, this was not a very impressive performance. Nothing went our way and even the heat did not assist. We managed to hold on after they took the lead, and were even able to equalise but could not hold on. They scored soft goals after the red card and the entire defence was in tatters as players picked up injuries.”
With four matches left in the qualifiers – two home and two away – Bafana Bafana have it all to do to keep hope alive in qualifying for Gabon 2017.
“The clash against Mauritania was a must-win for us, but everything is not lost. We have four games to go, 12 points to play for but that comes with pressure because any slip up and we will not make it to Gabon. Right now in terms of qualification it is still up in the air and it is upon us to get it right in the remaining matches,” added Mashaba.
Mauritania scored through Aly Abeide (5th), Boubacar Beyguili (78th) and Khalil Ahmed (86th) while South Africa’s solitary goal came from Thamsanqa Gabuza (69th).
Bafana Bafana take on Senegal on Tuesday, 8 September in a Nelson Mandela Challenge.
“Due to the injuries we will definitely make some changes and also because we want to give other players a chance who did not play in the first match,” concluded Mashaba.
South Africa will conduct a training session at Orlando Stadium on Monday, 7 September at 10h00.