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Shakes Mashaba 'bothered' by Bafana’s costly errors

He also admitted that the team is 'fairly toothless' in front of goal, attributing it to poor composure.

FILE: Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has always presented himself as an optimist, even in the face of disappointment and unrelenting pressure, but following the last two results from his team, he's seemingly getting worried.

For months now, South Africa has been struggling with closing out games or building on their dominance, be it competitive or friendlies, and it has cost them a lot so far.

In the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) last year, Bafana looked good to win their opening game against Algeria after dominating for a great deal of time, but they ended up losing that clash 3-1.

Against Ghana and Senegal, in the same competition, Mashaba's boys looked good on the ball and threatened the opposition a lot, but couldn't make their chances count as they ended up crashing out of the competition at the group stage.

Those problems carried into the 2017 Afcon qualifying campaign, and their draws against Gambia and Cameroon, where they were well on top of their game, proved to be detrimental to their cause and left Mashaba feeling the brunt of that failure.

The 2018 Russia World Cup qualifiers - a new campaign, a new page and a fresh chance to redeem themselves and earn the trust and belief of their fans again - but, yet again, those ugly problems they've faced for nearly two years have reared their head.

Bafana failed to collect maximum points against Burkina Faso in their opening match, conceding a goal in injury time, after taking the lead with 10 minutes left in the match, while Senegal made the most of their chances and beat Cape Verde 2-0, to summit Group D ahead of the South Africans.

Their most recent match, against Ghana, in an international friendly played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Bafana once again allowed their opponents to have free reign in their own half, for an entire 45 minutes, but to their benefit they woke up well in time to salvage the little damage that was done to them.

They conceded a silly penalty that was converted well, but Ayanda Patosi came to the rescue as he beautifully beat the goalkeeper to save his country from shame.

Mashaba will be sweating about how he's going to get his team to start playing the kind of football that will yield the desired results and kickoff their ascendency.

"if you look at this game (against Ghana) its more or less the Burkina Faso game. First half, Burkina Faso were all over us, because we were not marking them and picking them up tight. We were allowing them space and time to run on and off the ball, same as the Ghanaians in the first half. My biggest worry, along with the technical staff, is we don't know how we're going to solve it."

He also admitted that the team is fairly toothless in front of goal, attributing it to poor composure and indecisiveness.

"After creating chances, we need to make sure we bury those chances. We're lacking composure and little bit of 'big heart'".

Bafana will have to negotiate their way past a star-studded Senegal side next month, if they want to keep their world cup qualification fate in their own hands.

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