Bafana Bafana end tough week with a defeat to Zambia
Bafana Bafana ended a tough week with a defeat to Zambia after allowing the visitors to come from behind to win the friendly international 2-1 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Coach Milutin "Micho" Sredojević's charges arrived in SA on Saturday but never showed any signs of slowing down as they clawed their way back from Keagan Dolly's strike in the 66th minute to win this encounter through goals from Kelvin Kampamba (78th minute) and Chaniza Zulu (82nd minute).
Local football fans will be disappointed with Sunday's result as Bafana could only manage a 1-1 draw with Namibia at the same venue in a match they were expected to win on Thursday night.
Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki suggested after the game on Sunday that Lyle Foster's injury in the second minute of this friendly international contributed to the defeat and unravelled his plans.
"Ja, I think if you lose a player in the second minute of the game it messes up everything," he told the SABC in his post-match interview.
"I think it was a very big setback to lose Lyle in the beginning of the game. The plan was not to make substitutions as early as we did and I think that did not give us the rhythm we were looking for because we kept on giving the ball away, even in the first half.
"We played like a team with no confidence, so I think that is what really killed the momentum and the rhythm of the team.
"We kept on giving away ball possession and we gave away too many corner kicks very early in the game. If you experience those situations in the game the confidence becomes a bit of a challenge."
Hard-working Anderlecht star Percy Tau was Bafana's best player on the pitch and had appeared to inject some life into the national team when he sent a beautiful pass down the middle of the park that cut through the Zambia rearguard like a hot knife through butter.
Tau's ball found Dolly in full flight and after the France-based player glided past stranded Zambia goalkeeper Sebastian Mwange, he calmly slotted the ball into the empty net.
That Dolly goal appeared to inject some life into the national team but the visitors had other ideas and it was no surprise when second half substitute Kampamba beat Bafana goalkeeper Darren Keet with a low shot a few minutes later.
The Zambians were not done with Bafana and Zulu completed a miserable afternoon for the South Africans when he scored the winning goal eight minutes from normal time.
Bafana's attire attracted as much attention as did the play on the pitch.
French apparel company Le Coq Sportif were named as Bafana's new sponsors a few days ago and yet the members of the technical team appeared to be wearing Nike jackets that were covered with black tape. Nike and the South African Football Association parted ways recently.
Sharp-eyed viewers took to social media to share images of the Bafana coach wearing a jacket that appeared to have black tape covering the Nike logos.
Ntseki has plenty to think about in the coming weeks as there is the small matter of next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe.
The two friendly games against Namibia and Zambia served as preparations for those crunch qualifiers and it remains to be seen whether they helped Ntseki's plans for next month.