Norway defeated Bafana Bafana in their first preperatory match ahead of the Africa Cup Of Nations (AFCON) at the Cape Town stadium, effectively dampening the spirits of the home team.
However, it would be naïve to begin hurling insults and casting doubt over the current crop as they showed signs of unity, stealth and intent. In the early stages, Bafana pinned the visitors in their own half – doing so with skill and deftly weighted passing in through balls and one-two’s. But their lack of composure in front of goal let them down.
Norwegian captain Tarik Elyounoussi showed sublime skill and composure, leaving the home side’s defence’s in sixes and sevens to put his side ahead, leaving a lot to be desired over the centre-back pairing of captain Bongani Khumalo and Siyabonga Sangweni.
Bafana’s third top goal-scorer, Katlego Mphela, summed up Bafana’s continued woes in front of goal when he failed to convert a defence-splitting through ball to set Mphela one-on-one with the visitors’ gloveman. But his tame shot did little to trouble the latter.
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund’s continued insistence with Simphiwe Tshabalala down the left flank, together with inexperienced winger Thuso Phala – who showed a few good touches – meant that Bafana, although dominant with posession, were blunt in the final third.
Bafana coach, Gordon Igesund, chose to look at the bright side of things. “What’s important is that we are creating these opportunities and we are getting into good areas, so I’m not too worried about that (the lack of penetration in attack),” Igesund told SAPA.
“I don’t think we have created so many chances in a game in a long, long time.
“The players know they played well, that they had this team on the back foot, and they (Norway) only created a couple of half-chances.”
Another positive note was that the Cape Town crowd had turned out in numbers unprecedented in the Mother City’s stadium – a near-sell out in attendace.