Hlatshwayo blames fatigue for Bafana's sluggish display against Sudan

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki with Thulani Hlatshwayo during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers match between South Africa and Sudan at Orlando Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki with Thulani Hlatshwayo during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers match between South Africa and Sudan at Orlando Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo has blamed fatigue for the team’s sluggish performance against Sudan in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.

Coach Molefi Ntseki's charges laboured to a narrow 1-0 home victory against the lowly-ranked minnows three days after travelling from the South Coast in Ghana.

Hlatshwayo said the situation could have been far worse had Bafana failed to beat Sudan after the 2-0 defeat to Ghana in their opening match of Group C.

The Bidvest Wits defender also admitted that the team’s display was below par and he attributed the display to the enormous distances they covered travelling between the two games.

“Obviously a win is a win‚ we had to bounce back after our loss against Ghana‚” said Hlatshwayo of a win earned courtesy of a lone strike from Lebogang Phiri on the stroke of half time.

“The way we played the game was okay but I feel like we put ourselves under pressure.

"We could have scored probably scored two or three more goals in the first half.

“It was risky as they could have scored one (goal)‚ because their intentions were to come here‚ sit and then try to catch us on the break.”

Scoring before halftime proved to be a huge relief for Ntseki’s team after enduring a frustrating afternoon. They created numerous chances but the ball would not roll into the back of the net.

“It was important to score the goal before halftime because if you look at the time‚ it was around the critical phase close to the break‚" he said.

"We kept knocking and knocking and like I said we could have scored more.

“Had we gone to half time 0-0 they would have been motivated but after we scored they kind of opened up play in the second half‚ though they still didn’t create as many chances as we did.”

Hlatshwayo lamented the tough travelling scheduled that limited the team to only one training session a day before the Sudan encounter.

“For sure without a doubt‚ playing in the Cape Coast‚ the field was heavy too and the most important thing was for us to recover‚" he said.

“Yes we can’t be happy about the overall performance because we could have scored more goals‚ but we’re happy with the three points that we got.”

The Afcon qualifiers will continue in August next year with Bafana playing back-to-back matches against Sao Tome e Principle‚ who lost 1-0 to Ghana at home on Monday following their 4-0 away loss to Sudan last Wednesday.