Owen da Gama aware of Bafana goal-scoring issue and presents possible solution


Bafana needed two penalties on either side of a stunning Percy Tau strike to overcome Guinea-Bissau in their last friendly match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, with a lack of shooting in front of goal once again proving to be an issue.

Despite an exciting display of intricate passing and movement by a pacey frontline featuring Keagan Dolly, Thulani Serero and Kermit Erasmus, the numerous entries into the box brought very little testing of opposing goalkeeper Papa Masse Mbaye.

With Erasmus not being able to provide an aerial threat on the towering defence of the African Wild Dogs, the diminutive forward was forced to attack from out wide or to drop deeper to combine with the midfield and wingers.

Da Gama, though, believes the RC Lens forward proved ineffective in and around the box as they have not yet mastered how to use him effectively and get him into threatening positions to shoot at goal.

"The important thing is that we had to give Kermit an opportunity to go out and really have a ball and enjoy himself," said Da Gama. "Kermit wanted to score three, four goals. He wanted it [badly].

"He's so hungry to score that we allowed him that freedom up front, but I think when he was not getting supply his [preferred] way, he started dropping deeper a bit to look for the ball and that affected his game.

"If you noticed, we closed [Guinea-Bissau] down very quickly – we didn't allow them to play and they had to resort to long passes – that also took a bit of sting out of Kermit because he was our trigger to close them down.

"But the understanding is not 100 per cent yet because, if there's a player closer [to the ball] that player has got to trigger [the press], so everybody was waiting on Kermit to run and trigger the pressing.

"We've now learnt that the nearest player has to trigger the pressing and allow Kermit to play more economical football, so that he's in the right places at the right time and doing the right thing, not losing energy out wide," he explained.

While Bafana's passing game was easy on the eye, the fear of taking responsibility and shooting when inside the box was still present, with Serero twice opting to pass rather than shoot when in promising positions in the first half.

Da Gama, though, revealed that they had taken preventative measures prior to the game, but believes it's a matter for the new coach to try and inculcate corrective measures into the team's system in order to see a turnaround in the players.

"I was just happy that we created some chances but the responsibility to shoot [is still a problem] – we showed them the video footage of the game against Burkina Faso, where they scored two from in front of the defense rather than going through," he admitted.

"If Hlompho [Kekana] was on [earlier in the game], he would have hit one or two crackers I can guarantee you that. But it's something we have to inculcate within what we are trying to achieve, we have to embed it into the players that they have to shoot.

"We brought in the top goalscorer in the PSL because we want those goals, we want to get the goals up front, so hopefully we'll get there. Let's see what Lebogang Manyama can bring because he looked very exciting in training and after coming on [against Guinea-Bissau]."

Bafana next take on Angola at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London this evening, with kick-off scheduled for 19h00.