By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
THE glory days seem to be slowly coming back in the Bafana Bafana camp, and the supporters are responding positively.
The team under the new coach, Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane, started its 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying competition on a good note, beating Niger 2-0, thanks to the goals by Katlego “Killer” Mphela and Bernard “Silence” Parker.
This qualifier at the almost packed Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday night, September 4 was Mosimane’s first official match since taking over from Carlos Alberto Parreira, and the boys have shown signs of maturity and responsibility.
Having failed make it in the last AFCON in Angola earlier this year, Bafana have since through their captain, Aaron “Mbazo” Mokoena promised to do everything in their best to make it in Equatoria Guinea and Gabon come 2012.
Back to this Group G match, Mphela scored as early as the 12th minutes, his 18th goal in 37 matches. This after the Mamelodi Sundowns striker had connected a well crafted cross from Steven Pienaar before he could chip the ball over the advancing Niger goalkeeper, Kassali Daouda.
The goal seemed to have motivated the home side who went on to enjoy the ball possession through out the proceedings, but only to be let down by a shy scoring players who were either shooting wide or straight into Daouda’s hands.
Parker finally showed them how it is done when he slotted home Anele Ncgongca’s cross with a brilliant strike to make it 2-0 at break.
In the second half Bafana Bafana continued from where they left off, with Siphiwe Tshabalala, Mphela, Parker Pienaar, debutant Kermit Erasmus, Ngcongca and second-half substitute Teko Modise all denied by the brilliance of Daouda who managed to keep the score line respectable.
The hard to please Bafana coach, Mosimane said the score was not the true reflection of the match.
“We should have won that match with a bigger margin, but I should comment my players for the good play and entertainment. We showed dominance with our play because we were all structured and tactically superior. We played happy football. I am happy that our players came out of their shell and expressed themselves and showed South Africa what they are capable of,” said Mosimane.
Bafana’s next qualifying match will be away to Sierra Leone next month.
Leone is still in cloud nine after they held defending champions, Egypt to a 1-1 draw in another Group G qualifying match.