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SA SOCCER NEWS
365's analysis of Bafana Bafana game 05/07/04
Saturday's performance against Burkina Faso was a huge improvement from the 3-0 disaster to Ghana two weeks ago, although coach Stuart Baxter will surely be making sure that the players keep their feet on the ground as their is still plenty of work to be done.

Burkinabe somewhat surprisingly offered very little resistance and Bafana will be provided with many sterner tests in their World and African Cup qualifying campaign, especially away from home.

A major positive was the outstanding display given by the back five, however the number of goal-scoring opportunities that went a-begging is a cause for concern - with the race to top the qualifying group likely to go down to the wire, goal difference may well come into play and Bafana need to learn to be a lot more clinical in front of goal.

SASoccer365's Anthony McLennan looks at the individual performances of the players...

Hans Vonk (7) : Another solid performance by the Ajax Amsterdam stopper. Was not called on to make many saves, but was alert when he needed to be, and instilled confidence in his defence with his calm demean our.

Bradley Carnell (7) : A good performance in his first Bafana game for quite a while, Carnell was always quick to pick up his man and allowed the Burkina Faso forwards very little space or time to settle on the ball. Could have got forward in attack more, but did all that was required of him in defence.

Aaron Moekena (8) : This man never seems to have a bad game for Bafana! Another excellent performance by the new captain, who looked in control of the game throughout.

Mbulelo Old-John Mabizela (8) : 'OJ' looked back to his old self in defence. Formed an excellent partnership with Moekena and at times he really showed his class when in possession of the ball.

Nasief Morris (7) : A solid if unspectacular game by the Panathinaikos defender. Despite playing out of his natural centre back position, Morris certainly seems to be cementing his place in the team at right-back.

Japhet Zwane (6) : Played well enough to justify his inclusion in the squad ahead of the out-of-form Delron Buckley, but has still to prove that he is a true international-class player. Worked hard for the side and deserves at least another run in the team.

Macbeth Sibaya (6) : Provided much-needed stability to the team with his high-work rate and hard tackling, but desperately needs to work on his passing game if he is to be the answer for Bafana in the holding midfield role.

Benedict Vilakazi (6) : The Pirates midfileder tried hard, but did not quite play up to the standard that he is capable of. Was industrious as usual, but was just not able to pull off several of his passes.

Steven Pienaar (7) : A vastly improved performance from the Ghana game and was excellent in the first half as Bafana tore holes into the Burkina defence down the right flank. Needs to focus more on his own game and not let refereeing decisions or bad tackles get to him.

Benni McCarthy (5) : Without doubt Benni can be a world class striker on his day, but if he decides to turn in another performance like on Saturday, then the country can really do without him. Missed an easy headed goal-scoring chance early on, gave away possession cheaply on a number of occasions and then tried to show off to the crowd with a number of unnecessary tricks on the ball. Does not appear to wear the Bafana jersey with the same pride that he does the FC Porto strip.

Shaun Bartlett (9) : A fantastic display by the Charlton Athletic striker. Was at the heart of all Bafana's attacks, especially in the first half. Scored the vital second goal with a brave header and worked tirelessly and showed real passion for the team all afternoon. McCarthy could do well to take a leaf out of his book...

Substitutes : Siyabonga Nomvete, Benson Mhlongo and Elrio van Heerden. None of the three made much of an impression in their short time on the field, although van Heerden had a great chance to make it three-nil just before the final whistle.

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