The match, which was attended by high profile dignitaries that included among others, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan, Premier of Limpopo Stan Mathabatha, Executive Mayor of Limpopo Ms Thembi Nkadimeng, Bishop of the ZCC Church Barnabas Lekganyane, Mamelodi Sundowns President Patrice Motsepe and several SAFA NEC members saw Congo stifling Bafana Bafana’s rhythm with some robust play.
“It was a tough game like we expected. They came with a game plan which was not to lose, they were happy to settle for a draw. Those who saw our first game against them last week can see they were a different ball game altogether. They came here to defend and frustrated us. We had chances to score but we couldn’t. But we are still on track, our boys are doing well, I don’t think we need to press panic buttons,” said a rain-drenched Mashaba after the match.
“We are not disappointed at all. We would have loved to seal qualification today but it did not happen so we are not disappointed at all. We are happy with a draw because it is a fair result. We still have another six points to play for but we need to make sure that we get the maximum points in our next game with Sudan to put the matter to rest.”
Mashaba is also concerned that his charges fire on all cylinders up front when playing away, but do not at home. With four matches played, South Africa scored five goals in two away fixtures but have not had returns in two home clashes.
“It is a concern that when we are home we don’t score yet when we play away we find the back of the net on a regular basis. We need to find out what is happpening because it is the same strikers who play. The good thing is that we are creating chances but we are just not converting them,” said Mashaba.
Elsewhere, Nigeria registered their first victory in the qualifiers when they defeated Sudan 3-1 with two goals from Ahmed Musa and one from Aaron Samuel while Salah Ibrahim found the back of the net for Sudan.
South Africa is still top of Group A with eight points, one above second-placed Congo. Nigeria is third with four while Sudan is bottom of the group with three points.
In their next clash against Sudan next month, Bafana Bafana will not have the services of defender Thulani Hlatshwayo who has been suspended after collecting his second yellow card in the campaign.
South Africa hosts Sudan on Saturday, 15 November 2014 at a venue still to be determined. Four days later (Wednesday, 19 November) Bafana Bafana travel to Nigeria for their last fixture of the qualifiers.
This is how South Africa and Congo lined up:
Senzo Meyiwa, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Eric Mathoho, Rivaldo Coetzee, Sibusiso Khumalo, Dean Furman, Andile Jali, Mandla Masango, Thulani Serero (Oupa Manyisa 67’), Tokelo Rantie (Sibusiso Vilakazi 80’), Bongani Ndulula (Kermit Erasmus 63’)
Darren Keet, Tefu Mashamaite, Siyabonga Nhlapho, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Oupa Manyisa, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Kermit Erasmus
Massa, F N’Ganga (Boukama 77’), Baudry, Moutou, I Nganga, Ngonga, Ndinga, Oniangue, Gandze, Dore, Bifouma
Standings after four rounds:
TEAM P W L D GF GA GD PTS
1. South Africa 4 2 0 2 5 0 5 8
2. Congo 4 2 1 1 5 4 1 7
3. Nigeria 4 1 2 1 5 5 0 4
4. Sudan 4 1 3 0 2 8 -6 3