South Africa U-23 coach blames red card for draw

Karim Farouk, Monday 28 Nov 2011

The game was decided by the red card, says coach

South Africa were held by Ivory Coast

South Africa U-23 Shakes Mashaba believes the game would have had a different outcome if his men weren’t reduced against Ivory Coast 1-1 on Sunday night.

"It was a game of contrasting tactics and was unfortunately decided by a red card to our player Thami Sangweni while we were leading 1-0 early in the second half," Mashaba was quoted as saying on South Africa Football Association website on Monday.

Phumelele Bhengu put the Baby Bafana in the lead after 22 minutes but substitute George Griffiths scored the equalizer eight minutes before time.

"Playing with ten men for such a long time at this level of the game is difficult, and despite that we managed to absorb the pressure and launched counter attacks that could have won us the match.

"I think we frustrated our opponents by keeping shape at all times and by also avoiding the short passing game they expected us to play. The red card made things extremely difficult for us and we should say it was a well-earned point at the end. We played against a very good Cote d'Ivoire team in a high intensity game," he added.

South Africa will play minnows Gabon on Wednesday and hope to seal a comfortable win waiting for Egypt-Ivory Coast clash.

"The first match is out of the way now, and the players' anxieties must be a thing of the past. The focus is now on our next match against Gabon. It is a crucial clash that will determine our destiny in the Championship, and as a result, the preparation for it must equal its significance," concluded Mashaba.

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