Bafana Bafana players show their appreciation to the fans following their Afcon qualifier against Sudan, which they won 1-0, at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - On Sunday afternoon, Bafana Bafana defeated Sudan 1-0 to bag their first win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (qualifiers), as they got their campaign up and running. 

Lebogang Phiri found the back of the net for Molefi Ntseki's men, making the most from the absence of Keagan Dolly and Themba Zwane.

On Sunday, the France-based midfielder showed that he wasn’t a bad shout, skilfully bamboozling his way past Sudan’s defence to help Bafana kick start their Afcon campaign.

Their next game in continental qualifiers is in September of next year. 

Below, IOL Sports reporter Mihlali Baleka rates the Bafana Bafana players following their slender victory at Orlando Stadium.

GK: RONWEN WILLIAMS

Williams was on a mini-holiday as he barely had to do some decisive saves. The Sudanese’s attack was made to look as non-existence by the awake Bafana defensive contingent. 6.5/10

RB: THAPELO MORENA

Morena consistently proves to be a key figure of the team whenever he dons the Bafana Bafana shirt, and that’s why today’s outing was no difference. The Mamelodi Sundowns’ versatile player had some impressive runs down the right flanks but his crosses left a lot to be desired for. 7/10

CB: ERIC MATHOHO

The lanky defender has had an impressive outing for club, Kaizer Chiefs, and Bafana since returning from an injury this season. He showed his prowess in the Nelson Mandela Challenge against Mali, and his absence in the Ghana clash proved to be costly as Bafana’s defence was porous. Today, having been available, he again proved his class. 7/10

CB: THULANI HLATSHWAYO

The skipper’s presence was there for all to see as he kept the Sudanse’s potent attack quiet for the duration of the game. Alongside Mathoho, Hlatshwayo read the game well as they cushioned goalkeeper Williams from the danger. 6.5/10

LB: SIFISO HLANTI

Following a nasty injury after the Afcon tournament in Egypt, the chances of Hlanti making a quick return to for this qualifier were said to be nigh impossible. But his behind-the-scenes fasten the process, hence he’s been not really been as effective for the national team. Today, he just proved to be okay. 6/10

RW: LEBOGANG PHIRI

Phiri started the game like a on fire as he took the game to the opposition’s half, but along the way, in the first half, he took the foot off the pedal. He would, however, put South Africa in the driving in the seat with a thunderbolt in the stroke of half-time after benefitting from a loose ball just outside the penalty-area. 6.5/10

DM: DEAN FURMAN

The nose-hard Furman barely put in the shift today, as he unceremoniously lost duels in the engine room, while Mokotjo had to cover up for him on unprecedented occasions. That was not all, Furman’s had a poor passing rate, losing a number of balls that could have, perhaps, help the team going forward. 5.5/10

CM: KAMOHELO MOKOTJO

Having missed the clash against Ghana, Mokotjo somehow had to prove that he was the missing link in Bafana’s engine room. The English-based player came to the party today and covered up for Furman as prevented the Sudanese heart of the engine coming into game to connect with their forwards. 7/10

CAM: THULANI SERERO

Known for his mesmeric touch that profound eases the pressure off the strikers, that effect was neither nor there in today’s match. That blame wasn’t entirely on his shoulders as the Sudanese team set-back at most, and rarely opening for a channel to Ali Aboeshren sticks. 6.5/10

LW: PERCY TAU

It took a little while before Tau warmed into the game. But when he eventually, he was trailblazer of Bafana’s attack as he proved to be nightmarish for Atahir Mohamed on a number of occasions in the first half. But in the second, Tau barely came to the party. 6.5/10

S: LEBO MOTHIBA

Known for his prowess to hold the ball for his teammates up front and with the killer instinct when presented with a sitter, it appears as though it would take a little while before Mothiba is the natural Bafana No 9. There was quite a lot that wasn’t going for the French-based player today, having totally miskicked the ball in Bafana real chance before not putting enough power behind the ball after being teed by Tau. 5.5/10

SUBSTITUTES

LEBOGANG MANYAMA

The Chiefs’ midfielder came on for tPhiri in the second half, and he huffed and puffed to inspire his team to the second but those efforts didn’t bear any fruits. 6/10

KERMIT ERASMUS

After coming on for Mothiba, Erasmus boxed with the Sudanese’s defence, and nearly scored the second goal but he forced a brilliant save out of Aboeshren. 5.5/10

BRADLEY GROBLER

Not in the match long enough to receive a rating.

@Mihlalibaleka

IOL Sport