JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana players lingered a little longer on the pitch at the Stade Linité as it dawned on them that being held to a goalless draw away to minnows Seychelles – three days after beating them 6-0 in Johannesburg – would be incredibly costly.
It was supposed to be a routine victory after setting a record win margin in the home leg of this 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and would have left them only needing a single point from the remaining two matches against Nigeria next month and Libya in March next year to reach the continental competition in Cameroon.
Maybe they were too casual. Perhaps they thought the job was done long before they took to the pitch – just as it has been the case when Bafana play Africa’s minnows. They were ruthless in scoring six of the best at FNB Stadium at the weekend, not at all disrupted by the heavy downpour and soggy patches on the field.
But away from home they were lethargic, missing an avalanche of opportunities, too casual and perhaps not deserving of a victory, although they should have easily brushed aside a team ranked 189 by world governing body Fifa.
The few chances they created, the hosts were able to deal with them and were made to look like a decent side that were a lot more confident in their backyard when they had come to South Africa hoping to sit back and earn a precious point.
For Seychelles, this was a victory – their first point in Group E following defeats to Libya (5-1), Nigeria (3-0) and Bafana on Saturday night with what was their biggest defeat in the group so far. Bafana, although a point goes someway in keeping them in the running for a spot at the Africa Cup of Nations next year, were big losers at the Stade Linité.
Both Libya and Nigeria, who were facing off in the second of their back-to-back encounters shortly after Bafana’s shock draw, would have been licking their lips at this result. The Super Eagles will arrive in Johannesburg for the November 16 fixture seeking revenge after Bafana beat them 2-0 in Uyo last year. And should they win, coach Stuart Baxter and his men will be under pressure and in jeopardy of blowing their chance to reach the competition.
But that’s Bafana for you, they almost never take the easy route. Their qualification could now hinge on their final group match against Libya, who are no pushovers as they proved in the dull goalless draw against South Africa in Durban last month. Bafana blew it.