JUST like many South Africans, Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki admitted that he was frustrated about his side’s uninspiring first half against Sao Tome in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Friday.
The 1996 Afcon winners, though at the end reigned supreme to win 2-0, but to be fair they couldn’t get going against the Islanders that wasn’t shaken by the occasion.
This led to Ntseki to tweak things a bit in the second half, with Percy Tau playing closer to Lebohang Manyama as a supporting striker instead of playing out wide.
“We were scrappy at the beginning and we didn’t get our footing right,” said Ntseki after the game.
“At times you get frustrated if you are on the pitch and things don’t come out the way you love them to be. But in the second half things were better and our passing pattern improved.”
Tau, part of the front three alongside Manyama and Keagan Dolly, was going on the right channel in search for the ball to affect the game.
But that didn’t work.
Then Ntseki instructed the former Mamelodi Sundowns forward to play closer to Manyama and it is where he was more involved and Bafana started to be in control of the proceeding.
When they finally clicked and Tau dropping deep to collect the ball, Bafana found their opening.
Tau was an instigator as he was brought down in the 55th minute and scored the resulting penalty.
Bafana, however, had to wait until the 90th to kill off the game to score the second.
Bongani Zungu, who came on in the 66th minute for Kamohelo Makotjo, rose highest to power home.
“For Percy to get us a penalty and score it happened at the right time because we were getting our rhythm right,” said Ntseki.
“After that, they opened up and we missed a lot of chances. Even though we missed the chances, we never stopped trying until we got the second goal from the set plays.”
With Ghana running away with Group C after beating Sudan 2-0 on Thursday to sit pretty at the summit on nine points, coach Ntseki said they kept that as a secret to the players so that they can focus on their task.
“We were fully aware that it was a must-win game, we needed the three points because Ghana won. So we were fully aware of the demands and the challenges.”
With these games being back-to-back, Bafana will ‘host’ Sao Tome at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Monday.
A win there will see Bafana take a giant step to close in the qualification for the tournament that will be held in Cameroon in January/February 2022.