AFCON 2023: Itumeleng Khune Criticises Bafana Bafana Defence After Slump Against Mali

AFCON 2023: Itumeleng Khune Criticises Bafana Bafana Defence After Slump Against Mali

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
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  • Itumeleng Khune has criticised South Africa's defence after their AFCON defeat to Mali
  • Bafana Bafana conceded two goals in the second half after missing a first-half penalty
  • Hugo Broos' side will face neighbours, Namibia on Sunday, looking to get back on track

Veteran goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune has poked holes in South Africa's defence following their defeat to Mali in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations opener.

Bafana Bafana's incredible first-half performance dissipated in the second half, resulting in Mali scoring twice in six minutes and taking all the points.

South Africa, Bafana Bafana, Mali, AFCON 2023, Percy Tau, Mothobi Mvala, Siyanda Xulu
South Africa struggled to defend their lead in the second half against Mali. Photo by Fadel Senna.
Source: Getty Images

Many felt the two goals were avoidable. At the hour mark, Mothobi Mvala fouled Mali's Lassine Sinayoko just outside the box, resulting in a dangerous free kick.

The ensuing kick hit the bar after Ronwen Williams' save and Mali were quick to react. Captain, Hamari Traore scored with no South African player close to him.

Six minutes later, the Eagles got their second goal through Sinayoko. Hugo Broos' side tried to play it from the back, but Mali's relentless pressing got to them.

Sinayoko received a pass from Kamory Doumbia, who outwitted Siyanda Xulu to slot past Williams. Both Xulu and Mvala were criticised on social media for their involvement in the goals.

Khune blasts Bafana Bafana's defence

Khune, who has 90 appearances for South Africa, was not happy with how they defended the first goal.

"We have to give Ronwen credit for saving the ball, but the defenders should know better that around these areas they should cover the keeper at any given time," he said via KickOff.
"Depending on which angle and who is taking the free kick, we should be able to communicate better regarding the man lying behind the wall."

Khune has played four games with South Africa in the AFCON, per Transfermarkt. The Kaizer Chiefs legend wants to see improvement in defence.

"Maybe that is practice from training, that's what they decided they were going to do, but we should have done better. At a national level, we should be doing better."

Mali captain backs South Africa

Sports Brief previously reported on Mali's captain, Traore tipping Bafana Bafana to do well despite beating them in their first game.

South Africa last went past the AFCON group stage in the 2019 edition in Egypt. They reached the quarter-finals but lost to Nigeria.

Bafana Bafana face neighbours, Namibia in a must-win game on Sunday before concluding their group E matches against Tunisia.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.