A brilliant second-half brace from substitute Chigufasu Mabasa helped Bafana Bafana beat a determined Eswatini 2-1 in Durban last night to book their place in the Kozafa Cup semi-finals. SA came from a goal down after Eswatini scored first in the second half through Bongoa Matsibula.
Bafana needed a win to secure a place in the knockout stage by finishing top of Group A. Lesotho and Malawi, coached by former Kaizer Chiefs defender Patrick Mabedi, have booked their places in the semi-finals.
Morena Ramoripoli, coach of the Bafana national team in the Kosava Cup, made some changes to the squad that started against Botswana.
The coach reinstated defender Keegan Allan in place of Bonjinkosi Makome and Lady Kapinga in place of Sean Mugila who was one of the scorers in the previous match. As expected, Eswatini came through with a defensive style that SA struggled to break down looking for the important goal in the first half.
When Bafana had the ball, Sihlangu Semnikati was almost behind the ball.
Two of their defenders, Siboneso Mamba and Sibungakonke Selling, combined very well and dealt with dangerous SA attackers such as Ikram Reiners and Victor Letswalo.
The deadlock was broken in the second half when Matsibula scored a thunderous shot from inside the penalty area after a terrible defense by the hosts.
Bafana kept throwing it all in their attacks, but Eswatini were too strong in defense and SA had to find other ways to score.
Substitute Mabasa’s superb shot from outside the penalty area did the trick as he beat Eswatini goalkeeper Sandaneswe Mathabela in the 76th minute of play.
Mabasa completed his brace in the 88th minute, beating Mthbula from close range, after being sent by Reiners.
In the other Group A match, Botswana and Namibia drew 0-0 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.