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Bafana’s Afcon 2015 – What Went Wrong?

South Africa’s disappointing exit from the 2015 Afcon tournament has raised a few concerns about the national side.

Jeremy Proome



Bafana Bafana saw a sad departure out of the African Cup of Nations last night following their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Ghana, but with so much positivity and confidence surrounding Shakes Mashaba’s men going into the tournament, one has to ask: what went wrong in Equatorial Guinea?

It was a bizarre turn of events at the competition, as South Africa went from dark-horse hopefuls to cannon fodder in three short matches. Don’t get me wrong, the team performed really well; in a matter of fact, they were always the first to score in all of their defeats to Algeria, Senegal and Ghana, but somehow Mashaba’s men seemed to always concede all their goals in the last 30 minutes of the matches. A tactical problem perhaps?

It’s clear that Bafana’s Achilles heel is not having the ball. Some teams learn to thrive on applying pressure on their opponents, even without possession, and this is what Bafana needs to embrace.

The problem seems to be that there are more questions than answers for South Africa’s national side, but there’s no denying that the current squad has the ability to score, and to great effect. Bafana even had multiple opportunities in every single encounter during the tournament to find the back of the net more times than one a game, but somehow never managed to finish off those chances. But whether they’re scoring or not, the aggressive attacking attitude perpetuated by the team in the opening half of all their games showed a determination that hasn’t been seen in a while, and furthermore, managed to keep their opponents, and worthy ones at that, scoreless in the opening stages of the game.

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Maybe Mashaba’s substitutions and complacency in the later parts of the game is leading to South Africa’s downfall. Understandably, he is a new coach to the side and the immediate team hasn’t been together for all too long, but maybe the offensive defence strategy implemented in the dawns of each game is South Africa’s answer to becoming a potent threat in African and world football. We don’t want to fall into the clichés of saying “South African football is still developing”, because fans, critics and players alike know that the national side has a lot more to offer.

The support, talent and structures are in place; no it’s time for the mental toughness to start kicking in for Mashaba and Bafana Bafana.

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    January 29, 2015 at 20:42

    I agree we did show threat going forward but we lacked tenacity in front of goal. We had so many chances in all of the games to win them in the first half but couldn’t convert our chances. We had good movement going forward but once we were in the box we tried to walk the ball into the back of the net.

    Our midfield has a lot of pace going but lack consistency going forward. We out-paced Algeria on the attach but lacked cohesion in movement. We can’t always rely on pace.

    At times our defense was pulled out of position too easily and we suffered from ongoing goalkeeping woes. Keef had an absolute shocker in the first game. Khuzwayo was looking shaky in goals in the other games.

    It was a disappointing tournament considering our run of play before that. We have a young team that needs to build experience.

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      January 30, 2015 at 10:07

      Ya I definitely noticed the communication breakdown between the goals and defenders. Our conceded goals seemed soft and unnecessary. We need to up our D.

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