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Namibians expose Bafana’s weaknesses

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Bafana opted to go into the match without several of their seasoned campaigners.

The Bafana Bafana team were held to a 1-all draw by Namibia on Thursday.

DESPITE their domination from start to finish, Bafana Bafana were held to a 1-all draw by Namibia in their friendly clash at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Thursday night.

Bafana opted to go into the match without several of their seasoned campaigners like Thulani Hlatshwayo, Andile Jali, Themba Zwane and Darren Keet in an effort to expose some Under-23 players to international competition.

There were some promising signs from the outset as they worked the ball up-field on the back of an excellent passing game.

Namibia allowed them so much time on the ball and they enjoyed several early sorties into the opposition goalmouth.

Nothing came of Bafana’s seventh-minute corner but there were tell-tale signs that a goal was imminent.

When the goal did come 10 minutes later, it was as a result of a big mess in Namibia’s defence. After Keagan Dolly made an interception, he fed Kermit Erasmus, who drew the defence before laying on a scoring pass for Luther Singh (1-0).

It was the Portugal-based Singh’s maiden goal for the national team in only his second appearance.

Midway through the first half, Namibia started tightening up their zonal marking but Bafana continued to hold the upper hand with 61percent of the possession.

Other than the fortuitous goal, Bafana had nothing else to show for their first-half efforts. There were at least three gilt-edged scoring chances which went begging.

On the stroke of half-time, Namibia’s lone striker Peter Shalulile came close to scoring. He outstripped Bafana’s defence as he chased after an up-field punt, but his scoring effort went well wide.

After the break, Bafana Bafana continued where they left off.

But against the run of play, a Namibian counter-attack provided the platform for them to land the equaliser through midfielder Absalom Limbondi, who held on to a Dynamo Fredericks pass. Limbondi’s shot went between the legs of goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

The goal lifted Namibia and Bafana were forced into a greater sense of urgency, and they responded with a wave of attacks.

In the final 15 minutes, Namibia’s defence repelled one attack after the other, although it must be said that despite the pressure Bafana Bafana failed to create clear-cut scoring chances.

Of course, the host of personnel changes in the second half did not help with cohesion on both sides, but it was a match that Bafana Bafana will look back on with regret after they were forced to share the spoils.

Bafana Bafana will return to the venue on Sunday afternoon hoping to do better in their next friendly against Cosafa rivals Zambia.