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HomeNewsRamoreboli: Defensive Selections Key For Bafana

Ramoreboli: Defensive Selections Key For Bafana

KORHOGO, IVORY COAST - JANUARY 21: Mothobi Mvala and Gomolemo Grant Kekana of South Africa during the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations match between South Africa and Namibia at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly on January 21, 2024 in Korhogo, Ivory Coast. (Photo by Segun Ogunfeyitimi/Gallo Images)

KORHOGO, IVORY COAST – JANUARY 21: Mothobi Mvala and Gomolemo Grant Kekana of South Africa during the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations match between South Africa and Namibia at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly on January 21, 2024 in Korhogo, Ivory Coast. (Photo by Segun Ogunfeyitimi/Gallo Images)

Jwaneng Galaxy coach Morena Ramoreboli believes the introduction of Grant Kekana to play alongside Mothobi Mvala in defence against Namibia is key for Bafana Bafana going forward. 

Following the disappointing loss to Mali in the opener in Group E, many critics highlighted the performance of Siyanda Xulu in the centre of defence. Xulu was easily beaten for pace and strength while he didn’t time a tackle to stop Mali’s second goal when the South Africans lost 2-0.

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With Kekana coming in for the next game against Namibia, Bafana kept a clean sheet and the 4-0 scoreline gives South Africa a plus two goal difference which gives them an excellent chance to progress to the last 16 round.

“If you classify the two centre-backs, which is Mvala and Xulu, you realise they have more or less similarities they are more like defenders who believe more in marking and fighting for aerial duals but when you bring Kekana in the centre-back you start to have a bit of intelligence, a bit of ability to progress play from the back and that’s what Kekana gave us,” Ramoreboli told Sports Night Amplified with Andile. 

“Secondly, it was easy for a situation where Mvala could deal with (Peter) Shalulile for Kekana to give cover but when you had Xulu and Mvala, the difficult part there is that both of them want to mark.

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“No one, will say ‘mark I will give you cover’. So, I think that was the most important thing,” he further stated. 

Given that Kekana and Mvala are teammates (as well as Namibia striker Shalulile) at club level for Mamelodi Sundowns was also pivotal and in the end the selections worked well for coach Hugo Broos in a game of utter importance. 

“Also, a combination from club football into the national team and when you don’t have time to find combinations, it worked so well for the coach because we needed players who understand each other and players who knows their strength and again the game needed us to play from the back.

“Kekana will give you that element, Mvala will try and influence play from the back,” Ramoreboli added.

South Africa take on Tunisia in their last group game on Wednesday evening, and Soccer Laduma discusses the permutations of what could happen in a special feature here.

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