Show ’em, Bafana



November 11, 2016
Show ’em, Bafana

KEY PLAYER: Itumeleng Khune

Mashaba’s side has right plan and power to shut down Lions.

Bafana  Bafana tackle Senegal in a crunch 2018 World Cup qualifier in Polokwane on Saturday (3pm).

South Africa coach Shakes Mashaba is set to unleash new call-up, striker Lars Veldwijk, as they look for goals on home soil.

The Dutch-born player will be looking to put the final touches on the team’s play in what he hopes will be a dream debut.

But here we look at how Bafana can beat Africa’s second-ranked team.

One of coach Shakes Mashaba’s blunders at last year’s Afcon in Equatorial Guinea, where Bafana faced the Lions of Teranga in the group stages, was the surprise selection of Jackson Mabokgwane as the first choice goalkeeper, exposing his height disadvantage against a team made up of man-mountains.

The coach opted to sideline Brilliant Khuzwayo and Darren Keet who would have been ideal in a match where Senegal were obviously going to use their aerial strength.

Khune did not make the Afcon squad due to a lengthy injury at the time, but his return to the national team, in the words of Mashaba, is “a quarter of the battle won”. No doubt who should be starting between the sticks then.

In that same encounter, Bafana struck first through Oupa Manyisa in the 47th minute having frustrated the Senegalese with their pace and nifty footwork in the middle of the park.

But as they grew tired, allowing the opposition to equalised using their strength in the air and SA spent the rest of the match
dealing with the onslaught.

Mashaba this week said he would address his side’s mental state in the dying minutes of a crucial qualifier like the one on Saturday.

The combination of Andile Jali and Hlompho Kekana is critical in keeping possession and finding pockets of space behind the Senegal defenders for Bafana strikers to score.

He’s the man everyone’s been talking about as Senegal’s dangerman. A few have argued that the Liverpool striker, who has scored six goals in 10 English Premier League matches, is a shadow of himself when playing for his country.

Mashaba should ignore those comments and urge his defenders to be alert when Mane is on the move — with or without the ball.

There are several other top players alongside Mane, but his growth since the last time these teams met in a qualifier has been immense and he is currently on a high.

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