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29.03.2007 Football News

REALITY CHECK FOR SOUTH AFRICA

By the BBC
REALITY CHECK FOR SOUTH AFRICA

Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and South Africa were brought back down to earth when they lost a friendly 1-0 at home to unfancied Bolivia on Wednesday.

The Bolivians, ranked 101st in the world, came to Johannesburg's Ellis Park without an away win since 1996 but Joselito Vaca's deflected strike was enough to end that drought.

Former Brazil coach Parreira chose to start the game with the same side that had played so admirably in beating Chad 3-0 in Saturday's Nations Cup tie in N'Djamena.

On the back of that result, many expected this game to be a walk in the park for Parreira's men.

But Bafana Bafana and their supporters were stunned after just 19 minutes when Vaca's shot deflected off midfielder MacBeth Sibaya into the back of the net.

The goal followed a catalogue of defensive errors as captain Aaron Mokoena fell on his face trying to clear before Sibaya's touch took the ball past goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez.

The 2010 World Cup hosts had much of the play for the rest of the first half, and came close when Surprise Moriri headed Lucas Thwala's cross just over the bar.

Moriri then thought he had scored in first-half injury time, firing home from the edge of the area, but Botswanan referee Tebogo Ramocha had already blown the half time whistle, much to the consternation of the Bafana players.

Parreira made four substitutions at half time, with Benedict Vilakazi later testing Bolivian goalkeeper Sergio Galarza with a couple of long range efforts.

Another substitute, Elrio Van Heerden, was then inches away with a curling shot that shaved the outside of the post.

Siyabonga Nomvethe, one of six South African substitutes on the night, then wasted two more glorious opportunities.

Watched by just 5,000 fans, Parreira has much work to do to make Bafana Bafana a credible force with the World Cup three years away.

South Africa: Rowen Fernandez; Cyril Nzama (Jimmy Tau 65), Lucas Thwala, Aaron Mokoena (Benson Mhlongo), Nasief Morris; MacBeth Sibya, Godfrey Sapula (Thembinkosi Fanteni 79), Steven Pienaar (Benedict Vilakazi 46), Delron Buckley (Elrio van Heerden 46); Surprise Moriri, Sibusiso Zuma (Siyabonga Nomvete 46).

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