Sibusiso Vilakazi of South Africa takes a shot at goal during the match against Ivory Coast. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Following Bafana Bafana’s 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast in their Africa Cup of Nations opener at the Al Salam Stadium on Monday, Mihlali Baleka rates South Africa’s players.

Starting Xl

Ronwen Williams - Didn’t show any signs of nervousness between the sticks. In fact, he pulled off big saves in either halves from Jonathan Kodja and Nicholas Pepe. There was little he could do with the goal. 7.5/10

Thamsanqa Mkhize - Had a busy match at right-back, especially having to deal with the troublesome Max Gradel. Mkhize could have done better in pushing forward and supporting Lebohang Maboe on the flank. 6

Thulani Hlatshwayo - It was a mixed day from the SA skipper. Hlatshwayo had a glorious opportunity in the first half, but could only put his header wide. But that could have been in vain hadn’t Williams came to Hlatshwayo’s rescue after he put Kodja through later on. 6.5.

Buhlebuyeza Mkhwanazi - Mkhwanazi hardly put a foot wrong in the heart of Bafana’s defence. 6.5

Ronwen Williams of South Africa during the match against Ivory Coast on Monday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Ronwen Williams of South Africa during the match against Ivory Coast on Monday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Sifiso Hlanti - The left-back was his usual self on the day. He easily pushed forward, while he closely monitored Ivory Coast’s dangerman Pepe. 7

Dean Furman - The Bafana bulldozer’s only blemish was losing possession that led to the Elephants’ goal. 6.5

Kamohelo Mokotjo - Not the best outing for the Brentford ace. Mokotjo was supposed to be a creative genius in the heart of Bafana’s midfield, but there were hardly any telling passes to forwards. 6.5

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Lebohang Maboe - Replaced by Sibusiso Vilakazi late in the second half, Maboe barely made a contribution for Bafana down the flanks. It is not that he was ineffective, but there were hardly any deliveries into the box. 6

Themba Zwane - Considering that he is used to Egypt’s hot weather with Mamelodi Sundowns at club level, Zwane was expected to come to the fore for his country. But just like his fellow attackers, it was hard to break the Elephants’ stubborn defence. 6

Percy Tau - Watched like a hawk by the Ivorian defence, it was a quiet day for the Bafana talisman. 6.5

Lebo Mothiba - With minimal service from the wingers Mothiba barely troubled Ivory Coast goalkeeper Guelassiognon Gbholo. 6

Sifiso Hlanti of South Africa wins header against Jonathan Kodjia of Ivory Coast. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Sifiso Hlanti of South Africa wins header against Jonathan Kodjia of Ivory Coast. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Substitutes

Sibusiso Vilakazi - 6.5.

Lars Veldwijk - Not on the field long enough to get a rating.

@Mihlalibaleka

 

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