Bafana claim Mandela Challenge
South Africa's impressive run continued on Wednesday as they marched to a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Cameroon in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Olympia Park in Rustenburg, South Africa. A goal nine minutes from the end by substitute striker Bernard Parker secured victory for the South Africans, who had fought gallantly throughout the match.
The result will come as a huge sigh of relief for under-pressure South Africa coach Joel Santana, and will secure the Brazilian time to continue with his re-building process. Under Santana, Bafana Bafana have now won four matches in succession.
South Africa could have won by an even greater margin, but midfielder Teko Modise squandered a golden opportunity to bury the Indomitable Lions when he missed a penalty only two minutes before the final whistle. Several earlier oppoirtunities were squandered by the home side, who would have benefited from greater composure in front of goal. Nevertheless, Bafana Bafana left Olympia Park with valuable lessons ahead of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Cameroon's Indomitable Lions were missing some of their stars, including Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o and captain Rigobert Song. Early in the game, they sat back, allowing the hosts to take the initiative. Sure enough, South Africa went two up within the first 20 minutes, thanks to their young star Teko Modise.
While the first goal was an act of individual brilliance from Modise, who spotted Cameroon goalie Carlos Kameni off his line and successfully took aim at the far left corner, the second goal was a result of some sublime interplay between Benni McCarthy and Modise, which baffled the Cameroon defence and allowed Modise to score his second of the match.
Defensive blunders, however, cost the hosts their two-goal cushion. Cameroon's first goal came when Kome Ngom's long-range strike beat South Africa's keeper Itumeleng Khune and flew into the top right-hand corner. Tehoi Somen scored Cameroon's second goal after another defensive lapse, but Parker was on hand on 81 minutes to hand Bafana Bafana the win, and the trophy.