Quite honestly, nobody saw this one coming. South Africa stunned Ghana in an international friendly Wednesday in FNB Stadium (recently renamed from Soccer City Stadium), the top venue during this summer’s World Cup tournament, by a final score of 1-0. Bafana midfielder Katlego Mphela scored the lone goal of the match.
“I am very happy, I mean it was our first game, especially me in terms of a competitive game,” Mphela said after the game.
“I was a bit sluggish to start with, I got two chances and missed them, but I managed to score the third one.”
For Mphela the goal was a monumental one for his international career, and he took a brief moment to reflect on it with the media. “To score my 17th goal in my 36th appearance, I mean what can one say, it is a great achievement for me.” Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan offered some words of congratulations to the Bafana squads after the match saying “They did very well in the first-half and I congratulate them on the victory.”
Ghana had been looking forward to their international friendly with South Africa to give thanks to the host nation that supported them during their run in the World Cup. Regardless of the sentimental feelings Ghana may have had they were still there to win a match before qualifying rounds for the African Cup of Nations tournament get underway.
“I think we started the game very slow and the South Africans took control of the game in the first-half,” Gyan said. “We went back (at the break) and we changed our type of play and we came back into the game, so you could see it was a balanced game in the second-half.”
South African goalkeeper Itumelend Khune put on a remarkable show by making a number of quality saves in the Bafana victory. It was Khune’s first match following a one game suspension that was served during South Africa’s final World Cup match, a victory against France. Khune said afterward that the victory was just the start for South Africa. “The qualifiers are going to be tougher but we will be ready,” he said.
A victory over Ghana was a terrific start for new South Africa head coach Pitso Mosimane, who coached the squad for the first time since taking the position. Next up for South Africa is a qualifying match for the African Cup of Nations. South Africa’s first qualifier will be played against Niger on September 3 in South Africa.
Itumeleng Khune – Anele Ngcongca (Siboniso Gaxa 63rd), Aaron Mokoena (Siyabonga Sangweni 46th), Morgan Gould, Tsepo Masilela – Siphiwe Tshabalala (Daine Klate 68th), Thanduyise Khuboni (Andile Jali 87th), Mcbeth Sibaya, Steven Pienaar (Reneilwe Letsholonyane 72nd) – Katlego Mphela (Sthembiso Ngcobo 79th), Bernard Parker.
Richard Kingson (Daniel Agyei 46th) – Samuel Inkoom, Lee Addy (Bright Addai 82nd), Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful – Andre Ayew (Yaw Antwi 60th), Anthony Annan (Bernard Kumoji 60th), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Haminu Draman (Cofie Bekoe 60th), Kwadwo Asamoah – Asamoah Gyan (Ransford Osei 70th).
South Africa Football Examiner