Bafana Bafana panicked against Mali, says former coach Igesund

Former Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund says that Bafana were punished for the errors that they committed against Mali in their opening of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations against Mali on Tuesday night.

Zero points after 2-0 defeat

Bafana were handed a 2-0 defeat by west Africans Mali. This resulted in coach Hugo Broos’ side being the cellar-dwellers in Group E, with zero points after one round of matches. 

Namibia caused the biggest upset in the tournament after they nailed Tunisia 1-0. They are occupying second position in the group, with Mali topping the log table. Bafana will now face Namibia in their next match in what will be a do-or-die affair on Sunday.

Besides the gloomy situation for Bafana, Igesund is still optimistic that South Africa can sneak through to the next round of the tournament.

There’s still hope

“The result was very disappointing,” Igesund told Sunday World. “There are some things that need to be fixed before the next match. They could have gotten something out of that game (Mali), but we can improve against Namibia. And we can win that match. The boys were quick, brave and technically better compared to Mali. They are also younger than the Mali players.”

The four-time PSL league winner added that Broos’ charges can be more competitive if they focus. “Bafana gave the ball away cheaply and they panicked. They were overelaborating on the ball in bad areas of the pitch.

Punished for silly mistakes

“The team did not look like they had it together as a team. But in fairness, they did not play badly at all. It’s just that they committed silly mistakes, and they were duly punished,” he said.

“Teams like Mali are very dangerous when you give them a chance. They knew they could capitalise on the mistakes of Bafana. They know that they are not too quick and that they did not have pace. Their strength is that they are organised, and they work as a team.”

Now a do-or-die situation 

Igesund added that it is now going to be more difficult to qualify after losing the first match.

“If you win the first match you have 50% chances of going through. Because if you get a draw in the second game, you are as good as qualified. If Bafana got at least one point, then they could beat Namibia. And their chances were great. Now it is a do-or-die against Namibia and to also get at least a point against Tunisia in the last group match. That is going to be very difficult,” he added.

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