Youngsters to the Rescue for Bafana in a 5-Goal Match

The scoreline was 3-1 till the 88th minute of the friendly international match between South Africa and Uganda played on June 10, with South Africa leading comfortably towards the end of the game and looking to seal it with a win.

But the hearts beat faster, and blood pumped aggressively as a goal by Lumala Abdu in the 89th minute of the match made it even more exciting to make the score line 3-2 with three minutes of added injury time keeping the hopes alive Uganda fans for an equalizer.

South African players and fans jumped with joy as soon as the referee blew the full-time whistle with the match going in favor of South Africa with a final score as 3-2. However, this win margin of 1 goal did not come easy for them.

The football fans of Bafana Bafana, the nickname of the South African Men’s National Football Team, were kept on the edge of the seat from the very beginning of the match when the opening goal was scored by Uganda’s I. Orit in the 17th minute with a header from a cross by Emmanuel Okwi. The veteran from Cranes used his speed to penetrate into the defense of Bafana consistently from the left flank and eventually scoring by assisting Orit.

Problems for Bafana Bafana-

The 51-year-old HelmanMkhalele is currently acting as the senior coach of the Bafanas in the absence of head coach Hugo Broos who is still in Belgium, his home country, because of Covid restrictions and to get vaccinated.

Mkhalele, a former Bafana International and also a winner of Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 1996, used a new formation, opting to start with six defenders in Nkosinathi Sibisi, Rushine De Reuck, Maela, Sibusiso Mabiliso, Craig Martin, and Denwin Farmer with only one striker and three midfielders making it a 1-3-6 formation making it clear the defensive approach of ‘The Boys,’ the Zulu for ‘Bafana.’

The inexperience of the Bafana side was also clearly visible from the starting 11 as there were seven debutants in the XI, with only Ronwen Williams, Hlongwane, LebohangMaboe, and Innocent Maelabeing the only starters who had donned the senior national side’s jersey in the past before this clash on June 10.

Mkhalele’s poor starting tactics and the side’s inexperience almost cost South Africa the game as they were down by one goal going in the halftime.

Youngsters putting up a Show:

The situation was laid down perfectly for a young hero to come up and prove his worth, and stepping up to the occasion was young guns Evidence Makgopa and Bongokuhle Hlongwane. Makgopa, 21, who was substituted in the second half and didn’t feature in the starting lineup, proved to be the difference with his two goals in 62nd and 83rd minute.

Hlongwane, 20, netted the second goal for Bafana in the 67th minute, 5 minutes after his teammate scored the first goal. This was only possible after Bafana made two substitutes in Kutumelaand  Makgopa at halftime, replacing defenders Sibisi and Farmer.

Bafanas are up against Zimbabwe in their next match on September 1 in the World Cup Qualifiers.

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