’Super-sub’ Kagiso Malinga praised after helping Bafana Bafana’s to opening win in the Cosafa Cup
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CAPE TOWN - Kagiso Malinga performed the role of "super-sub" perfectly, according to Bafana Bafana assistant coach Morena Ramoreboli.
The Moroka Swallows striker came off the bench to score a wonderful goal to gift Bafana a 1-0 victory over Botswana in their Cosafa Cup clash at Gqeberha's still impressive 2010 World Cup stadium.
Bafana had to overcome numerous challenges ahead of the game, most notably the absence of coach Helman Mkhalele who tested positive for Covid-19 prior to the match. This came after official head coach Hugo Broos and his Belgian assistant Cedomir Janevski already had to remain in Europe due to Covid-19 complications.
Ramoreboli was therefore left in charge in Gqeberha and looked towards his bench shortly before the hour mark in a bid to change the course of a match that Botswana had dominated until that stage.
Sekhukhune United FC midfielder Thabang Sibanyoni was hauled off and Malinga was entered into the fray. The decision had an immediate impact with the Dube Birds hit-man finishing off a neat aerial pass from left-back Nyiko Mobbi.
"I want to congratulate the boys. I think they tried their level best to execute the plan as we wanted," Ramoreboli told SuperSport.
"Looking at our bench, we only had three players. We made a very thorough analysis before the game. We knew that Malinga has been scoring a lot of goals for Swallows off the bench. Obviously when you have him on the bench bring him on and he will give you something. He did that exactly. These are some of the players who showed signs of maturity."
In line with Broos' philosophy a very young and inexperienced squad has been selected for this Cosafa Cup, with many players even still competing in the Glad Africa Championship.
Ramoreboli, though, was pleased with the efforts of the players available and the progress they made despite not being able to create a host of clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.
"Yes, we never got too many entries into the final third, especially in the first half," Ramoreboli said.
"I think second half we managed to correct a few things. We did not want to lose too many balls because we knew that they would win many aerial balls. So we had to keep the ball on the ground and we got it right.
"Even though there were few mistakes, we could not get enough entries into the final third. Because Sibanyoni could not connect well with Pitso (Mkhulise) and [Ethan] Brooks. In the second half we managed to create a few chances. We did our best, especially in the second half."
Bafana's next match is against Group A leaders Eswatini on Thursday. Kick-off is at 3pm.