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Wed Apr 23 12:32:14 SAST 2014

Nematandani sees 'signs of hope' for Bafana

Sapa | 14 September, 2012 10:430 Comments
Thabo Matlabu and Siboniso Gaxa during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Mozambique at Mbombela Stadium on September 11, 2012 in Nelspruit
Image by: Manus van Dyk / Gallo Images

While Bafana Bafana critics may feel the level of opposition was below par, SA Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani believes the national side showed a number of positive signs in their two international friendlies this month.

An out-of-form Brazil side struggled to a 1-0 victory over Bafana in Sao Paulo last week, while Mozambique were missing a number of key players in South Africa’s 2-0 win in Nelspruit on Tuesday.

Nematandani, however, was confident about the future as the dawn of a new era broke under head coach Gordon Igesund.

“I thought the boys were very comfortable with the ball,” Nematandani said this week, in the wake of Igesund’s first two matches in charge.

“They were sharing the ball, and of course, like the mind always does, you adjust to the challenge ahead of you. To me, it’s a sign of hope.

“I believe the coach could take it forward, get the discipline right, the mental framework right, get the commitment right. I think anything is possible.”  Bafana are playing with a completely new formation and Nematandani said the performance as a whole should be taken into account.

Still, in contrast to the Brazil match in which they were prominent on attack, Bafana dominated but failed to create enough meaningful chances against neighbours Mozambique.

Not scoring goals while dominating the opposition has been a familiar script for Bafana, but Nematandani felt the potential for change was evident.

“The spectators were entertained but we also missed a lot of goalscoring opportunities which we should have converted and we didn’t,” said the Safa boss.

Negatives aside, Nematandani praised the performance of Oldham Athletic captain Dean Furman, who was a surprise call-up in Igesund’s new-look squad.

“I was quite impressed by the new recruit, [Dean] Furman,” he said.

“To me he was like an orchestra conductor. If you check the gestures he was showing, even showing ’you should play the ball there’ — telling the one who’s got the ball, bring it here, play it there.

“I thought that was like music to me.” 

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