Home Sport Mkhalele pleased with Bafana’s performance in opener

Mkhalele pleased with Bafana’s performance in opener

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The South African national side missed out on an opportunity to take early control of Group A in the competition as they let slip a lead in the second half to share the spoils against the Black Mambas in Gqebera.

Ethan Brooks of South Africa challenged by Fernando Jose of Mozambique during the 2024 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Mens Championship match between South Africa and Mozambique at the Nelson Mandela Stadium, Gqeberha on the 26 June 2024 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

BAFANA Bafana stand-in head coach Helman Mkhalele was upbeat despite his side dropping points in their Cosafa Cup opening match against Mozambique.

The South African national side missed out on an opportunity to take early control of Group A in the competition as they let slip a lead in the second half to share the spoils against the Black Mambas in Gqebera.

With the other sides in the group, Botswana and Eswatini, also playing out to a goalless draw earlier in the day, it means all four nations are sitting on one point after the first round of matches.

Like they’ve done in the past, Bafana have assembled a 23-man squad consisting of several Under-23 players as well as prospects on the fringes of national team coach Hugo Broos’ plans.

Mkhalele was placed in charge of a side that had not been together longer than two weeks as Bafana look to win the competition for the sixth time in their history.

After a Rushwin Dortley opener before half-time, Bafana were pegged back by a Chamito Alfandenga rocket in the 64th minute and missed out on victory.

Despite the result, Mkhalele cut a positive figure on a cold night at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and expressed that he was pleased about his team’s display.

Bafana exerted themselves on the opposition by dominating possession and made five attempts on goal in the first half.

The second half was a different story as Mozambique fought their way back into the encounter.

“I’m excited because of the performance even though it wasn’t consistent,” Mkhalele said after the match.

“Looking at where we’re coming from, the team started their first training session on Sunday after coming from the off-season so I’m quite excited by the attitude and the commitment from the boys.”

Bafana still have two more matches in the group stages to decide their own fate and better their third-place finish from the last edition of the competition.

Next on their agenda is Botswana before closing out the round-robin stages against Eswatini.

Mkhalele admitted that the result was not to his liking when he considered the type of goal his team let in.

However, he revealed that it was one his team could use as a stepping stone for a successful rest of the tournament.

“I’m very happy and we need to build on it but in terms of the result, I’m a little disappointed because we gave away the lead where it was unnecessary.

“But the good thing is we know where we went wrong in terms of defending our lead, we didn’t apply ourselves very well to ensure we protect the lead,” he explained.

“We gave them spaces to play and more especially after they brought on fresh legs, we should’ve stayed compact but overall I’m happy with the attitude of these boys and the commitment.”

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