Bafana Bafana ended a disappointing international break in defeat, losing 2-1 to Zambia at a wet Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Sunday.
The result comes just three days after a lacklustre performance against Namibia, where they two sides settled for a one-all draw at the same venue.
Zambia defeat Bafana Bafana
Having given some of the fringe players a run on Thursday, coach Molefi Ntseki named a stronger side for Sunday’s encounter, bringing in the likes of regular skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo and star forward Percy Tau, with Darren Keet taking over the gloves from Ronwen Williams, who captained side in the previous fixture.
It was a nightmarish start for the hosts, particularly young striker Lyle Foster who – in his first start for the senior national team – had to be stretchered off in the opening minute. Montpelier winger Keagan Dolly was brought on in his place.
What followed was a scoreless first half, which was not without opportunity, as both sides threatened to break the deadlock.
Tau had a few opportunities to put Bafana ahead while, at the other end, Mamelodi Sundowns defender Motjeka Madisha stood out with some excellent stops.
The end-to-end attacks continued in the second half and one eventually bore fruit six minutes after the hour-mark, where Tau played Dolly in with a piercing through pass, and the former Sundowns man made no mistake in rounding the keeper to put the hosts ahead.
Bafana’s lead lasted only 12 minutes as Zambia capitalised through Kelvin Kampamba after failure to clear the danger.
Four minutes later, the Nkana midfielder made it 2-1 to the visitors as his low shot from range beat an outstretched Keet.
None of Bafana’s attempts at drawing level yielded results, as Zambia held on to their lead to secure victory.
Bafana’s next assignment is at home to Sao Tome e Principe in an Afcon 2021 qualifier on 13 November.
How they lined up
Starting XI: Darren Keet (GK), Reeve Frosler, Thulani Hlatshwayo (C), Motjeka Madisha, S’fiso Hlanti, Andile Jali, Teboho Mokoena, Themba Zwane, Percy Tau, Thabiso Kutumela, Lyle Foster.
Subs: Ricardo Goss (GK), Abubaker Mobara, Gladwin Shitolo, Thibang Phete, Mosa Lebusa, Mothobi Mvala, Siyethemba Sithebe, Thabo Nodada, Keagan Dolly, Luther Singh, Kermit Erasmus.