South Africa Annihilates Namibia To Reignite AFCON Hopes

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SOUTH AFRICA’S Bafana Bafana Sunday night showed class as they annihilated their neighbours,  Brave Warriors of Namibia 4-0  at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium to get their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign back on track

34-year-old Themba Zwane, once deemed too old for international football, was the spark that started it all and was behind it all, as he scored twice in the trouncing at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium. 

A loss to the Eagles of Mali six days earlier meant this was a must-win match for Bafana Bafana and they rose to the occasion, taking a three-goal lead into half-time with Zwane netting twice.

When Belgium’s Hugo Broos became coach after South Africa failed to qualify for the last Cup of Nations, he said the team was “too old” and used Zwane as an example.

But consistently good performances by Zwane for his club, Mamelodi Sundowns, forced the coach to change his mind.

After Percy Tau converted a penalty, Zwane bagged his brace and Thapelo Maseko netted in the second half as South Africa achieved their biggest winning margin in the competition.

Mali now tops the table with four points, South Africa and Namibia have three each and Tunisia one ahead of the final group matches scheduled for Wednesday.

Thapelo Morena, promoted to the South Africa starting line-up after coming off the bench in the loss to Mali, troubled Namibia from the start with his runs down the right.

From one, Namibian Riaan Hanamub handled inside the area and, after viewing the incident at the pitchside VAR monitor, the referee pointed to the spot.

Tau, heavily criticised after blazing a spot kick wide against Mali, redeemed himself with a superbly struck low penalty past Lloyd Kazapua into the corner of the net on 14 minutes.

Relief was etched on the face of Tau, who plays for Egyptian and African giants Al Ahly, as he ran back to the South African half, and Namibia seemed despondent at falling behind so early.

Then, the Zwane show began at the 20,000-seat stadium in the most northern of five cities in the Côte D’Ivoire hosting Cup of Nations matches.

Morena once again featured prominently as his cross was met perfectly by Zwane and the ball flew past Kazapua to give Bafana a two-goal advantage with 25 minutes gone.

Portugal-based Sphephelo Sithole, who with Tau were the only starters who do not play for South African clubs, wasted a great chance to score when his header hit the ground and flew over.

His miss was soon forgotten, however, as Zwane struck again for a 3-0 lead. He raced toward goal from the left and fired across Kazapua and into the far corner of the net.

South Africa were dominant and Kazapua did well to tip a Morena shot just over the crossbar as half-time loomed.

Broos, a 2017 Cup of Nations title winner with Cameroon, felt sufficiently confident of victory that he took off Zwane midway through the second half.

His replacement, Maseko, did not take long to make an impact as he sprinted to control a long pass and although Kazapua got a hand to his shot, he could not prevent it from entering the net.

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media 

 

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