Bafana stretch their unbeaten record run

South Africa’s Keagan Dolly is manhandled during their international friendly against Guinea-Bissau at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban at the weekend. Picture: Gallo Images
South Africa’s Keagan Dolly is manhandled during their international friendly against Guinea-Bissau at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban at the weekend. Picture: Gallo Images

SA tackle Angola after impressive 3-1 victory against Guinea-Bissau

Bafana Bafana will field another strong starting lineup in their second friendly international against Angola in East London tomorrow, according to caretaker-coach Owen da Gama.

Bafana cruised past 80th-ranked Guinea-Bissau with a 3-1 win at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday to stretch their unbeaten run to a record 16 matches.

South Africa’s unbeaten streak began in October 2015 with a victory in Angola and includes nine victories and seven draws with a 31-14 goal tally.

The battering of Guinea-Bissau is the first of two friendlies aimed as preparation for away and home World Cup qualifiers against Cape Verde Islands on August 28 and September 2.

There were impressive returns to the national team after extended self-enforced absences for Kamohelo Mokotjo and Kermit Erasmus.

Percy Tau made his first appearance for the senior team as a substitute – following his first two games for a fringe side that were eliminated by Angola in African Nations Championship qualifiers in 2015 – and banged in a world-class strike within three minutes of his introduction.

Da Gama has indicated that the two teenagers in his squad, Phakamani Mahlambi and Luther Singh, who did not feature against Guinea-Bissau, will get a run against Angola.

The coach said Bafana needed to keep a core of their strongest lineup at the Buffalo City Stadium.

“But I think the whole idea is to give everybody a run, without really coming up with something totally new. There’s got to be some foundation to keep the team structure,” Da Gama said.

“That’s why you could see [against Guinea-Bissau] there was a mixture of the old team and something new. And it’s got to be that mixture again.

“I learnt this with the game against Mozambique. We put in 11 players who had never played together, and in the first half it was a shambles – they couldn’t string one pass together.

“So you need some structure in the team, and give other players a chance.”

Da Gama served as caretaker coach – fielding fringe players – in a 1-1 friendly draw against Mozambique in Maputo in November.

That game followed four days after Bafana’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying win against Senegal in Polokwane, after which head coach Shakes Mashaba was suspended for disciplinary reasons. Mashaba was fired in December.

Da Gama’s starting lineup against Guinea-Bissau, qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations finals earlier this year in Gabon, showed six changes from the senior team fielded against Senegal.

The caretakercoach’s squad for these two friendlies was roundly praised for having brought Mokotjo and Erasmus back in from the cold, and the inclusion of young blood in Tau, Mahlambi, Singh and Lorenzo Gordinho.

Montepellier forward Keagan Dolly, the man of the match on Saturday, said he had been excited to see Da Gama’s squad.

“I’m glad we scored three goals. We missed a lot of opportunities, but I think with the way we played we enjoyed ourselves,” the ex-Mamelodi Sundowns star said.

“And I think you could hear by the crowd reaction that they were enjoying watching us play.

“When the squad was announced I got excited just to see the names, and seeing the youngsters like Phakamani Mahlambi, Luther Singh and Percy Tau,” Dolly said.

Angola are ranked 147th in the world.

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