Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

Bafana were brilliant now reinstate Mokoena SABC

As you will see from the match report below I was of the firm belief that Bafana Bafana were absolutely magnificent against Brazil last night and are now as much a source of pride to the nation as our cricket and rugby teams. There is no doubt that Joel Santana has achieved this and with all due respect to those who came before, this is the first time we have looked like we don’t have to fear anyone.

Gone is the ill-discipline on and off the field, “the boys” did us proud.

That is my opinion and, like Gary, Terry and all the other presenters on SuperSport regularly do, I put it out there for debate. Needless to say the football team on SuperSport are superb and attract vast audiences to hear their opinions — presenters and experts.

Why then, in the name of all things holy, must Walter Mokoena be suspended for expressing an opinion? The SABC suggest that it’s because he has gone out of his contract by expressing his view that Santana is crap. His job description is “presenter” not “expert” according to them.

Are they suggesting that Mokoena has been hired as a football presenter but doesn’t know enough to express an opinion? Worse, are they of the view that viewers enjoy watching some SABC robot bore us to tears in case he offends anyone?

Get a life.

You can hear the viewers changing channel as I type.

Mokoena’s view of Santana is absolute garbage but he is fully entitled to express it without incurring the wrath of some know-it-all down at the SABC.

Forget the legal garbage, apologise and give the man his job back.

MATCH REPORT

With the US pulling off the shock of the footballing decade in beating Spain, last night 54 000 Bafana Bafana fanatics descended on Ellis Park to see whether the improbable was going to happen again. As in the case of the US, it seemed highly unlikely because previously South Africa have played the 5 times World Cup champions and 2 times Confederation Cup winners twice and on both occasions they were beaten.

This time Bafana were armed with a Brazilian coach in Santana who ironically had been the coach of Brazil’s current coach, Dunga, when he played for Vasco Da Gama.

That was all in the past, Ellis Park was here and now.

The match started slowly without a shot on goal in the first 12 minutes before two quick strikes, one for each side, from Ramirez (Benfica) for Brazil and Gaxa for Bafana, released the early tension.

The game then started to swing from end to end with Mokoena, on 29 minutes, missing a header from a free kick when it looked easier to score. The skipper, on his way from Blackburn to Portsmouth, knows he should have done better.

Both sides were committing to attack and Bafana were certainly not out of their depth. If anything they looked the more likely.

On 25 minutes Tshabalala warmed the hands of Cesar in the Brazilian goals when Parker was brought down outside the box. His free kick from 25 yards out was hit with venom.

South Africa were pushing forward in numbers and were looking lively with Brazil happy to hit them on the break. On 36 minutes Kaka shot wide from distance reminding Bafana that this was Brazil and they are deadly.

On 42 minutes Kaka again on the break unleashed an effort which brought a save from Khune who really looks like he is international class. Within a minute Bafana were down the other end with Pienaar unleashing a rocket from just outside the box which just flashed wide.

Masilela received the first yellow card right on half-time while gifting Brazil a free kick from 30 yards out. Santos fired it straight into a Bafana defender and it was half-time.

Resilience, ambition and total commitment from an exciting Bafana team leaving the Brazilians somewhat bemused as they headed for the change rooms. Tshabalala and Pienaar have been outstanding.

Brazil came out looking to establish control early in the second half earning a corner in the first minute. The ball was headed wide but the message was clear. Within 2 minutes Robinho let fly from distance — over the bar.

Brazil wanted respect.

Then it was a Kaka run down the left which Bafana squeezed out for another corner. Less than 5 minutes and Brazil were taking back control of the midfield they had surrendered in the first half. On 51 minutes a cross from the right is headed wide by Kaka.

As a Derby County fanatic of almost 40 years this was easy, I’m used to being under the cosh game after game. Mind you as a Bucs supporter it’s not quite as clear cut.

Anyhow, on 54 minutes Bafana’s first effort of the half when Tshabalala’s shot was blocked.

On 57 minutes a Modise shot takes a wicked deflection, which Cesar scrambles for a corner. This was the first of two corners in two minutes as Gaxa, Modise and Tshabalala are taking the game back to Brazil.

On 62 minutes, first Fabiano and then Robinho unleash efforts in the box without success. Bafana are still determined to take the game to Brazil and earn a corner on 66 minutes. The ball is curled over the goalmouth and out on the full. Bafana need to be more clinical.

It continues to swing from end to end with Fabiano unleashing a shot down the right from 25 yards out which sails way over the bar on 68 minutes

Bafana continue to ask questions with a Tshabalala swinging in a cross from the right which just eludes the head of Parker, 73 minutes and no substitutes as yet.

Both sides are trying to engineer a goal from distance which is a credit to both defences as shots go flying over the bar. Santana has made Bafana Bafana into a competitive international side with plenty of quality — no question about it.

On 86 minutes Mokoena concedes a free kick on the edge of the box. Daniel Alvez who came on as substitute on 80 minutes fires in an unstoppable free kick. Khune had absolutely no chance.

Ellis Park is finally silenced.

Brazil on 90 minutes nearly score again with Khune saving fabulously from Fabiano whereafter they run down the clock.

Brazil have earned their place in the final of the Confederations Cup and Bafana have earned the respect of the football fraternity; all in front of President Jacob Zuma and Fifa President Sepp Blatter.

Teams:

South Africa: Khune, Gaxa, Masilela, Mokoena, Booth, Mhlongo, Dikgacoi, Pienaar, Modise, Tshabalala, Parker.

Brazil: Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Luisao, Santos, Melo, Silva, Ramires, Kaka, Fabiano, Robinho.

Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland).