This week, SportPesa Clubhouse column ambassador, Doctor Khumalo touched on the performance of Bafana Bafana in their opening AFCON match against Ivory Coast and made mention that the national team needs to improve on their performances looking at the statistics of how the team’s results have deteriorated over the years.
This is what ‘16V’ had to say:
“Since 1996 we have only managed to win two Afcon opening matches and that was in 1996 against Cameroon, when we beat them 3-0, and then in 2000 when we beat Gabon 3-1. We have drawn four Afcon opening matches since then, losing three (2006, 0-2 against Guinea, 2015, 1-3 against Algeria and 2019, 0-1 against Ivory Coast). I don’t know if South Africans are aware that since our readmission to international football, we’ve only ever had one player scoring a hat-trick in the Afcon and that’s the current Cape Town City head coach, Benni McCarthy! He achieved that within 20 minutes, when he scored four goals against Namibia in the 1998 edition of the Afcon, which we eventually lost 2-0 to Egypt in the final.
“You also look at the current team and there are only five survivors from the last Bafana squad to represent us at Afcon, which was back in 2015. They are Zwane, Dean Furman, Darren Keet, Hlatshwayo and Tau. Whilst on statistics, it is also important to note that we are currently ranked 14th in the CAF rankings while we are 73rd in the FIFA rankings. The team we played our opening game against, Ivory Coast, are ranked 11th and 65th respectively and I just want us to put things into perspective. I also want to remind South Africans that Bafana were ranked as the number one country in the CAF rankings and 16th in the FIFA rankings, in 1996.
“It is very important for our people to keep these records and statistics in order to remind ourselves of where we come from and where we are headed. That’s the only way to improve and our Afcon participation has been really inconsistent. The worst Afcon record we have came from the 2006 edition where we lost all three games and didn’t even score a single goal in Egypt. I just hope, wish and pray that history doesn’t repeat itself this time around. Having said that, I think we have assembled the best team ever and I hope the boys will go out there on Friday and redeem themselves. Good luck, gents.”
Khumalo emphasised the importance of having to keep track of the national team’s records over the years as to help improve the results going forward.
To read more on what Khumalo had to say, check out this week’s SportPesa Clubhouse column in issue 1129 of Soccer Laduma.