Bafana Bafana did what they know best this past weekend which is to disappoint the nation when it matters most. They were held to 0-0 stalemate by Libya in a crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. It was another uninspiring display under Baxter’s tenure as the boys in yellow delivered a performance which supporters deemed sub-par.
The nation expected Bafana to roll past Libya but Baxter and his boys could not deliver. It was a similar occurrence last year at Moses Mabhida as South Africa were humbled by Cape Verde in a crucial World Cup qualifier as islanders walked away with maximum points. The result means that the group is now open with Nigeria registering their first win against Seychelles. Bafana are tied with Libya on four points, and they will play Seychelles home and away in their two upcoming qualifiers.
Baxter made a surprise selection upfront as he chose to start with Vincent Pule, ahead of the man-of-the-moment, Bradley Grobler. Percy Tau was tasked with the responsibility of leading the line upfront while Pule operated as winger.
The weather conditions didn’t oblige in KZN as there was a reasonable down-pour, a possible contributor to a lacking performance. Libya showed that they are here to play as Rabia Alshadi found space in the box and tested Khune on his near post, but the Kaizer Chiefs goal-minder was well positioned to make a comfortable save.
The Libyans were incredibly close to taking the lead as a superbly driven cross found striker Abdul Salam, but the strike went over Khune and hit the crossbar. Bafana bafana lacked agency, creativity and precision in their play. They were downright lethargic gifting Libya the better chances of the game. Tau tried to produce the moment of magic 10 minutes before the interval as he executed an audacious attempt to get his shot on target. The only time when Bafana looked like they were going to score was during set plays. Not to mention, Bafana were at sixes and sevens on the defensive front.
Furman made another important clearance to deny Elshadi during the second half. Vilakazi had an off day and fans lost patience as they rolled their hands suggesting that he should be replaced. Baxter seemingly heeded the suggestions as he made the substitution and replaced him with Audrey Modiba.
Bafana will have to work extra hard if they want to be on the flight to Cameroon in June next year. They left the nation with no hope with their disappointing display in Saturday.