Durban - Bafana Bafana got the job done and earned a vital 1-0 win over Zimbabwe at the FNB Stadium on Thursday. As Hugo Broos himself admitted after the game, the win was far from the most impressive for his side but the most important thing is that they did what they needed to do.
Now all Bafana Bafana need to do in their final Group G game against Ghana on Sunday is to ensure that they are not defeated heavily against Black Stars.
The following are the areas that won Bafana the game against Zimbabwe
Confidence and structure
Bafana were full of confidence after having now won their last four consecutive games. Yes, it’s true. It’s rare that we’ve been able to say that since the early 2000s.
Zimbabwe on the other hand were not confident and their structure was all over the place given that they have regular lineup changes and their players mostly hardly play alongside or against each other besides when they are on national team duty.
By contrast, most of the South African players are very familiar with each other as they have played with and against each other extensively so this contributed to their more organized structure.
Zimbabwe’s Marvelous Nakamba who is one of the best midfielders on the African continent struggled to get a foot in the game. While Bafana were not at their best, they were confident enough to launch attacking forays which led to the Teboho Mokoena goal. They could have scored a few more but Bongokuhle Hlongwane just happened to not have his scoring boots on.
Zimbabwe appeared to be weak against pace. This was a major factor why Keagan Dolly caused them problems with his attacking surges and eventually got the assist for the goal which Mokoena scored.
After coming off the bench, Fagrie Lakay’s pace also was clearly a problem for the Warriors. Shortly after coming on, the Cape Town City star nearly assisted a goal for Dolly but the latter struck wide.
To their credit, Bafana was defensively organized against Zimbabwe. The away side did not have too many opportunities with Ronwen Williams having a fairly quiet night. What was particularly creditable is that Bafana did well defensively without the presence of senior defensive player Siyanda Xulu who missed the game.
Nyiko Mobbie and Njabulo Ncgobo did well to recycle possession and pass the ball while also ensuring that Zimbabwe’s best player Nakamba could not get a foot in the game.
Rushine De Reuck did not start the game well but recovered well in the second half.