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Human saves Bafana's blushes in Cosafa opener

Second half changes benefit SA as they draw with Namibia

Lancaster Rowan Human of South Africa during the 2023 COSAFA Cup match between South Africa and Namibia at King Zwelithini Stadium on July 05, 2023 in Durban.
Lancaster Rowan Human of South Africa during the 2023 COSAFA Cup match between South Africa and Namibia at King Zwelithini Stadium on July 05, 2023 in Durban.
Image: GALLOW IMAGES / ROGAN WARD

A decent performance from the bench saved Bafana Bafana from an embarrassment of losing their Cosafa Cup opening clash to Namibia at home. 

Bafana came from a goal down to play a 1-1 draw with the Brave Warriors at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban last night.

SA-based Elmo Kambindu scored the opener for the Namibians before second-half substitute Rowan Human found the equaliser. 

Human has been deadly in front of goals recently as he scored four goals during the Premier Soccer League (PSL) relegation/promotion playoffs, though that was not enough to save his side Maritzburg United from the axe. 

Bafana’s build up to the tournament wasn’t without chaos as official national team assistant coach Helman Mkhalele, who led the side last year, was banned from carrying out the same duties due to lack of coaching qualification. 

Mkhalele’s lack of qualification forced Safa to appoint Morena Ramoreboli as an interim coach and Raymond Mdaka as his assistant. 

Another stumbling block was that out of the 47 players that Ramoreboli called in his preliminary squad, only 19 pitched for camp as some PSL clubs refused to release players as the tournament doesn't fall under the Fifa calendar. 

Nonetheless, the makeshift technical team was still able to put a solid final 23-man squad with players from the PSL and others with the experience of playing abroad. 

Despite having that strong team on paper and dominating for most of the opening half, it was the Namibians who scored first on 43 minutes. 

After being under pressure for most of the half, Namibia scored through Chippa United forward Kambindu. 

In a bid to remedy the situation and avert an embarrassment, Ramoreboli made four changes before the start of the second stanza. 

The changes were effective as Human found the equaliser with a beautiful strike three minutes after his introduction. 

Botswana, who beat Eswatini 1-0 in their opener, will now play Bafana on Saturday (3pm) while Namibia face Eswatini three hours later

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