Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bafana v Uruguay - an armchair critic's perspective

Bafana promised much this World Cup. From claims of making the nation proud to declaring that they could win the tournament, the squad carried an air of confidence and belief and many South Africans duly followed. Last night's 3-0 drubbing at the hands of an above average Uruguay restored some perspective as to where South Africa really are in the echelons of world football. A bright enough start by Bafana was cancelled out by Diego Forlan's vicious strike from outside the 18-yard area. Goalkeeper Khune was partly to blame as the ball sailed above his head. Maybe he was briefly unsighted by his defence, who allowed Forlan so much time and space to line up the shot. The confidence and enthusiasm shown by Bafana in the opening match was sadly lacking in the second game. Even at 1-0, Uruguay looked assured in possession as Bafana showed little attacking intent and an inability to string a row of passes together. The goal-scoring hero from the last game, Siphiwe Tshabalala, offered little apart from a few wild shots and Modise on the right had another ineffective performance. Worryingly still, playmaker Steven Pienaar looked a shadow of his former self and captain Aaron Mokoena continued his run of defensive mistakes. While there were legitimate claims for offside (decide for yourself) , there can be few complaints about the referee's decision to award the penalty and send Khune off. Despite the Uruguayan number 9 looking more at home in a swimming pool than on the football pitch such was his inclination to dive around for the entire game, Khune did get the man not the ball and denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity. His defence however had left him high and dry. A third for Uruguay at the end was just the final hammer blow in an inept Bafana performance.

With Dikagcoi now suspended for the France game, maybe now Mokoena will get moved into his preferred defensive midfield role with Matthew Booth in at centre back? Doubt it though.

Let's hope that France and Mexico play to a draw tonight and then Bafana to beat France while Uruguay beat Mexico in the last group games. On last night's perfomance, that is just cloud cuckoo land.

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