South Africa booked a brilliant 2-0 win over Nigeria in the first 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Uyo’s Godswill Okpabio Stadium on Saturday. Three Kaizer Chiefs players were in the starting line-up, Itumeleng Khune, Ramahlwe ‘Rama’ Mphahlele and Erick ‘Tower’ Mathoho, while Lorenzo Gordinho sat on the bench.
“Khune showed his experience in goal, doing a fine job whenever he was required to come into action,” reflects former Amakhosi defender Dominic Isaacs about the game. “He commanded his area very well.”
“Rama was excellent, very solid defensively, while making threatening runs forward as well. Mphahlele’s cross for Tokelo Rantie’s opening goal was class.
“Tower, meanwhile, formed a formidable combination at the heart of defence with Thulani Hlatshwayo. Mathoho played very well.”
About South Africa’s overall performance, Isaacs, who played for Chiefs between 2008 and 2012, says: “To be honest, I felt confident before the match that we could win. Stuart Baxter has now been coaching in South Africa for quite a while and knows all the players inside out.
“Of course, Nigeria had a relatively young and inexperienced squad, but Bafana’s overall performance was good, they were tactically very sound and deserved the win.”
South Africa will host Zambia in a friendly at Moruleng Stadium on Tuesday, 13 June (kick-off at 19:00). This match could be an opportunity for Gordinho to play for Bafana Bafana, as coach Baxter has indicated that he might make some changes to the team.