• Bafana player ratings after opening Afcon defeat

    Bafana Bafana striker Lebo Mothiba and Ivory Coast defender Serge Aurier

    Bafana Bafana were edged 1-0 by a quality Ivory Coast side in their Group D Afcon opener on Monday. FourFourTwo SA writer DEAN WORKMAN has rated the performance of the South Africans who now face a must win game against Namibia on Friday.

    GK: Ronwen Williams 7/10

    In what was considered a shock selection Williams was chosen in between the sticks over Darren Keet. The SuperSport United keeper vindicated Stuart Baxter’s choice as he produced a number of top-quality saves in both halves keeping Bafana in the game.

    RB: Thami Mkhize 4/10

    Mkhize struggled for Bafana against the quality of Max Gradel and Nicholas Pepe. The defender was caught horribly out of position for the goal, while he also offered little going forward.

    CB: Buhle Mkhwanazi 6/10

    The defender worked tirelessly to stop the Ivorians but struggled with their pace and interplay at times. Baxter looked to play out from the back, which is not particularly Mkhwanazi or Hlatshwayo’s strength which resulted in the duo giving the ball away on occasion.

    CB: Thulani Hlatshwayo (c) 5/10

    The Bafana Bafana captain had an indifferent outing as he missed a golden chance for his side from a set-play in the first half, and while he was solid at the back he was also one of the defenders caught out by the Ivory Coast attackers for the goal.

    LB: Sfiso Hlanti 6/10

    Hlanti offered Bafana and outlet down the left flank on occasion while he also produced some fine deliveries in the box from set plays. The Bidvest Wits defender though was up against the trickery of Pepe and was exposed on a couple of occasions

    CM: Kamohelo Mokotjo 5/10

    The Brentford midfielder ran his socks off Bafana in the midfield but struggled to produce any moments of creativity in the match. Mokotjo was slow to regain his after a corner as the Ivory Coast broke forward to score the eventual winner.

    CM: Dean Furman 6/10

    Furman was deployed as the deeper of the two central midfielders and was also tasked with trying to cover the defence in wide area. The most capped Bafana player in the squad tried his best to break up play but gave the ball away which resulted in the goal.

    LAM: Lebo Maboe 4/10

    The Sundowns youngster struggled against his more experienced opposition in the Afcon opener. Maboe was pushed inside by the narrow formation and as a result had little space and time to produce any creativity and often gave the ball away.

    RAM: Themba Zwane 5/10

    Much like Maboe, Zwane was pushed inside and offered very little width for his side. The Sundowns fan may have great feet but he struggled to produce any creativity in the tight spaces he was occupying.

    CAM: Percy Tau 5/10

    Bafana’s star also endured a tough outing as he started in a central area where the Ivorians marked him tightly. This resulted Tau having an ineffective day as he struggled to dictate the game. Tau was moved out wide as Bafana looked to get into the game, he did get on the ball more, providing a couple of balls into the box but overall it was a day to forget for the forward.

    ST: Lebo Mothiba 3/10

    Much was expected by the French based striker, but he struggled and was ineffective throughout. Mothiba struggled to hold the ball up while being tightly marked by the Ivorian defence. In Mothiba’s defence he was not provided with enough chances, however, when he did receive the ball, he struggled to use it effectively.

    Substitutes

    Sibusiso Vilakazi 6/10

    Vilakazi came on with 15 minutes to play and showed some positive intent when on the ball as he looked to make things happen for his team. He did have a golden chance last on to snatch an equaliser but the Sundowns man blazed over.

    Lars Veldwjik 5/10

    The Dutch based striker came on in the final 10 min as Bafana looked to use his aerial threat with long balls into the box. Veldwjik did look threatening but there was not enough quality service for him to have a serious impact.

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