Date: January 23rd, 2015
Venue: Estadio de Mongomo
City: Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea
Time: 21:00 (CAT)
Match Result: South Africa 1 – 1 Senegal
Goal Scorers: 1 – 0, Oupa Manyisa 47’; 1 – 1, Kara Mbodj 60’
The GSV Top Class Award
Whenever a footballer get played out of position, especially at international level, one begins to feel as if he cannot be blamed when he fails to perform at his optimal level; Oupa Manyisa is an individual that has the talent to dictate the pace and creative tempo of an attacking line when he is allowed the freedom to get on the ball and roam centrally in his more natural position. Yet despite the fact that he has been continuously shunted out wide when he has played for Bafana recently, Papas showed his class and undoubted ability in one great attacking team move that ended with him netting a strike of pure quality; calmly curing the ball into the far post after cutting in from the left flank, Manyisa showed the level of finesse that the legendary master of the far post finish Thierry Henry would have stood up to ovate. Oupa Manyisa deservedly receives our GSV Top Class Award for his great strike, hopefully the lad has now earned the right to play in his more natural position and display his class more frequently for his national team.
The GSV Class Clown Award
With all due respect to the progress Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has made as national team gaffer in his reign as the Commander in Chief with a plan to build a platform for sustainable progress, the gaffer missed a trick by dropping stopper Darren Keet for a more inexperienced and less aerially inclined keeper in Jackson Mabokgwane; Popeye may have allowed in a cheap 3rd goal against The Desert Eagles, yet the lad showed just how much of an asset he is to a more aerially challenged South African side who tend to get bullied around on defensive set-pieces due to their lack of positional sense and height, that decision alone would have made him a front runner for the GSV Class Clown Award. A seasoned gaffer like Shakes, with his great grasp of South African football and its strengths and shortcomings, ought to have showed more conviction in his selection and persisted with a stopper that has the ability to overcome his moment of calamity and rise to the occasion for Bafana. The fact that Keet got dropped for his error while Tokelo Rantie survived the axe and the side persisted with a Sibusiso Vilakazi that seems more of an impact player at national team level than he does a starter, especially against the more brutish defences of the continent, is more proof that the gaffer approached the game more emotionally than he did tactically; that lack of understanding of the true tactically shortcomings of side that should have lined up in the more orthodox 4-4-2 that got them to Afcon in the 1st place is the reason Shakes Mashaba is the winner of our GSV Class Clown Award.
The Grand Stand View
Senegal came into this encounter knowing that the group had been blown wide open by the Black Stars and their smash & grab victory over the Desert Warriors, lining up in a more open 4-3-3 formation with the return of star playmaker Sadio Mané showed just how much they desired a positive result out of this clash. The pace of the game was a tad bit up tempo, yet that meant little as both sides struggled to keep hold of the ball and knock it around with any degree of purpose; South Africa showed great interplay in patches but the habitual lack of composure and quality in the final 3rd meant that they were again failing to make the most of the chances they did manage to create. Senegal defended well, although the Lions of Teranga were allowed to get away with a few rough and over the top challenges by the officials, they did endeavour to attack with the little bit of meaningful possession they could retain. The encounter seemed to lack a tad bit of quality and a great deal of creativity, both sides could have done with a hungry youngster or two in the attacking 3rd to take on the opposition and eliminate a player or two; such a player has often proved to be the driving force behind a good African side being great at an international level tournament. South Africa managed to take the lead from one of their great attacking moves in this tournament when intricate passing interplay finally met composed finishing and Bafana were deservedly in the lead, one could not help but feel like they had again scored to early in an encounter; lacking the quality and game management skills to start retaining the ball a lot more and creating attacking opportunities with more timing that going gung-ho in the hope of having another crack at getting a goal, South Africa looked one poor defensive moment away from hitting the self-destruct button again. To the despair of many South Africans across the fraternity, that lack of defensive concentration moment came; a cheap free-kick was given away by the goal scorer Manyisa and the tall Senagalese lads sniffed an opportunity to get forward and test their opposition’s mantle. In came an inviting ball, off his line came the keeper and just like that, the scores were level again. South Africa did get their chances to try and gain back the ascendency, yet the lack of quality persisted and by the time the final whistle blew, South African’s begun to take out their rule books and scientific calculators in an effort to see just what it would take for their nation to still have hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals.