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SA SOCCER NEWS
Woeful Bafana Outplayed In Mauritius 10/01/04
A Bafana Bafana side that included the likes of Delron Buckley, Sibusiso Zuma, Jacob Lekgetho and John 'Shoes' Mosheou rounded off their beach holiday in Mauritius with a woeful 2-0 defeat to the African minnows in the Cosafa Cup on Saturday.

The South Africans were woeful over the 90 minutes against a side who are ranked 123 in the world and 33rd in Africa, behind the likes of Botswana and Swaziland.

It was just what the visitors did not need after a week full of scandals, including the suspension of their coach, Shakes Mashaba, and the forure over the South African Football Association (Safa) taking more officials than players to the tropical holiday island.

The visitors were not helped before the kick-off with the news that influential defender Aaron Mokoena would not be fit to play, so Neil Winstanley was handed a debut, along with Wits goalkeeper Wayne Roberts.

The home side had the better of the opening stages and should have gone ahead when Cyrille Mourgine ballooned the ball over the bar when it seemed easier to score.

The make-shift Bafan defence, that included Jomo Cosmos midfielder Benson Mhlongo as a sweeper, were at sixes and sevens as the home side poured forward in search of an early goal.

Roberts saved his side with a magnificent stop following a 30-yard effort from Santos veteran Sebastien Bax, who was relishing playing against many of the players he meets day-in-day-out in the local Castle Premiership.

Stanton Fredericks and Zuma had chances for the visitors in the opening half, but both missed badly when well-placed.

Six minutes into the second half, the visitors won a corner kick, but Tony Colye's header went just wide of the left-hand post. A minute after that, Mauritius counter-attacked and Gilbert Bayaram swung a ball into the centre of the South African box where, inexplicably, Lekgetho scored an own goal while in the process of trying to clear when there was no Mauritian around him.

Caretaker coach Styles Phumo tried to change things around soon after that, introducing Jabu Pule into the game for Zuma in the 68th minute, after the Copenhagen star had been marked out of the game by the Islanders.

But Mauritius made it 2-0 in the 80th minute through Christopher Perle after a beautiful build-up in the midfield put the striker through on goal and his shot deflected off Winstanley and looped over a stricken Roberts for a second time.

There is quite obviously plenty of work for Bafana to do if they are to escape the embarrassment of a first round exit in the African Cup of Nations which begins in Tunisia on January 24.

Although they are likely to have a few more of their overseas stars available for the opener against Benin on January 27, the off-field problems that have beset the side have left in bitter taste in the mouth of most South African supporters.

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