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Bafana Bafana: What did we learn from Botswana, Sierra Leone friendlies?

5:46 PM EDT 9/27/22
Themba Zwane Bafana Bafana.
It was a mixed few days for Hugo Broos and his South Africa side as both positives and areas of concern emerged from their two matches.

Bafana Bafana racked up two successive friendly international wins as they beat Sierra Leone 4-0 and Botswana 1-0, both at the FNB Stadium.
The two games were used as warm-ups to the Afcon qualifiers.
Those take place in March next year with SA playing Liberia at home on the 20th and away eight days later. Bafana's final qualifier is against Morocco on June 12, 2023.

  • Hugo Broos, Bafana Bafana, September 2022

    1. Bafana lucky to beat Botswana

    It was a rather lackluster performance against the Zebras and the visitors were unlucky to lose the match after hitting the bar in the second half and missing another chance right in front of goal.

    Losing or drawing to a team ranked 146th would not have been good for Bafana Bafana's (ranked 68th) morale at all and coach Hugo Broos was also less than pleased with his side's showing in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

  • Mihlali Mayambela of Bafana Bafana.

    2. Experimenting

    Ultimately not too much can be read into the results or performances because it's unlikely either of the two teams which played over the past few days will be anywhere near the final XI which starts against Liberia in the Afcon qualifiers in March.

    For one thing, there were a number of players missing through injury who could potentially come back into the side, including Percy Tau, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Lyle Foster and Fagrie Lakay.

    That aside, it was pretty obvious that Broos was trying to look at as many players as possible. That meant consistency was sacrificed, but at least most of the players involved were given a fair amount of game-time to show what they can do.

  • Sphephelo Sithole of South Africa.

    3. Lots of midfield options

    Luke Le Roux, Sibongiseni Mthethwa, Sphephelo Sithole and Teboho Mokoena all played well in central midfield for Bafana, and are exciting young players. Goodman Mosele wasn't at his best, but is another option as is Kaizer Chiefs' Yusuf Maart or Sundowns Sipho Mbule.

    It's an area where Hugo Broos is spoilt for choice and perhaps one reason why Andile Jali is not getting call-ups.

  • Zakhele Lepasa Bafana Bafana.

    4. Three new exciting attackers

    Forwards Zakhele Lepasa, Khanyisa Mayo and Mihlali Mayambela all impressed for South Africa. They are quick, skillful and exciting players who give Broos some more depth to his attacking options.

  • Themba Zwane, Bafana Bafana & Mohamed Kamara, Sierra Leone, September 2022

    5. Zwane not optional

    After his outstanding performance against Sierra Leone, Zwane must surely be a strong candidate to start in the qualifiers in March if fit and on form. His two goals aside, it's his experience, composure and leadership qualities which bring so much to a young team.

    That Bafana are short on other players with a clinical edge up front must be of concern to Broos.

  • Bafana Bafana players, September 2022

    6. Fading support

    It was a rather lonely looking Bafana side as very few supporters came out to the FNB Stadium.

    The match was also not televised by any of the broadcasters; it seemed a couple of thousand people watching on YouTube were the only others apart from the sprinkling of fans live in Soweto who were interested in the game.

    Hopes are not especially high for Bafana these says. But it should be remembered that two of the three teams remaining (after Zimbabwe were disqualified), will qualify for the Afcon finals. With Morocco six points clear, its effectively a straight shoot-out between SA and Sierra Leone.