The national team completed a double over the Atlantic Ocean islanders to stay on course for Cameroon 2022
South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki has admitted they were unsettled especially in the first half of Monday’s 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier 4-2 win over Sao Tome e Principe at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Themba Zwane and Percy Tau grabbed a brace each to seal the victory for Bafana Bafana, who dismissed the same opponents 2-0 last Friday in a reverse fixture.
On Monday, Sao Tome stunned Bafana after captain Joazhifel Soares thrust the islanders ahead 12 minutes into the match but Zwane led the comeback with a 39th equaliser before Tau put South Africa in front.
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After Harramiz restored parity for Sao Tome, Zwane and Tau then sealed victory for Bafana Bafana in the last three minutes of the contest.
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With the islanders threatening to steal a point in Port Elizabeth, Ntseki conceded that it was a tough afternoon against their opponents who “had nothing to lose.”
“We always struggle as a country when playing against the so-called small football nations,” Ntseki told Marawa Sport Worldwide on Metro FM.
“What was important to us was to psyche our players and prepare them against Sao Tome who lost 4-0 to Sudan and 1-0 against Ghana. But I think our application was very good if you look back to how we approached the game against Sao Tome in the first leg in Durban.
“In the first half, we were a bit anxious. We wanted to score an early goal and things were not coming right and we ended up becoming a bit impatient. Coming into the dressing room at half time we were working on our strengths and exposing their weaknesses.
“We needed some tactical changes of moving players within the team into different positions and it really worked because in the second half we managed to score goals and we missed a number of chances.
“But I think we had a group of good players coming into the national team who were looking forward to representing their country and do well. We all want to do well for the national team, we want to play good football, winning football and qualify for Afcon.
“I think this is what we have seen from our players. Coming into the second match we knew it was going to be difficult because you are playing a team that has nothing to lose. They throw everything at you and that is what they did in the first half.
“Secondly you are playing a team that has conceded too many goals. Coming into this match they had conceded seven goals and we were fully aware that conceding goals is not a problem for them. But in terms of their direct play in trying to get that odd goal would be an important aspect of the game we had to deal with.”
After the win, Bafana Bafana remained second in Group C while leaders Ghana take on Sudan on Tuesday.
Bafana host the Black Stars in their next match in March 2021, while Sao Tome face Sudan.