Source:| Napoleon Ato Kittoe, Ghana

The face of football is changing, certainly in Africa too. One of football’s biggest upsets stands in the name of the Bafana Bafana of South Africa who disproved the bookmakers by beating 2019 Afcon hosts, Egypt. South Africa’s campaign is on, Egypt is out. 

The result widens the scope of Mahgreb tears following the exit of Morocco at the hands of Benin. On this occasion, it was the less fancied South Africans who surprised the football world, staining Egypt’s one hundred percent  record at home,  with a goal that was not to be questioned.

Self belief worked like magic for South Africa on the backs of recent statistics. In Africa Clubs Champions League, Al Ahly playing as guests of South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, were incredibly routed by five goals. It qualified at their expense in a stifling Cairo battle which the Egyptians could only produce one goal.

At Afcon 2019, the Bafana Bafana already had their spirits buoyed around Namibia. Their geographical neighbours came all guns blazing yet Bafana Bafana stood the test and got past them. It was here the actual revelation about the South Africans arrived. Speed, teamwork,  attacking football.

Coach’s strategy was evident. Indoor assessment of the Egyptian game might have been done with a lot of television footage analysis, particularly of the pharaohs who had their backs against the wall from Ugandan onslaught in previous game, only to be separated by two brilliant individual strikes from Egypt. This being the premise, the South Africans knew exactly what to do and they did unfurl a well rehearsed strategy to contain the highly rated opponents.

With South Africa throwing everything into the game, and outpacing the Egyptians, the Pharaohs had their goalmouth boiling, especially in the first half. Egypt’s goal-getter Mo Salah was man marked by a defender whose commitment to duty, succeeded in neutralising the game’s attention spot.  Egypt then began to show signs of wilting, unable to hit back with trademark confidence. Again, the Egyptians resorting to long balls and not their usual short passes and power, was more of a contingency than predetermined.

Another whirlwind of a counterattack from the South Africans, threw Egypt in disarray five minutes to end of regulation time. This was the moment the unexpected happened.

The responsibility fell on shoulders of relatively unknown striker called Lorsch. He kept his composure to pick his spot, sending the marvellous Egyptian goalie the wrong way. He was smart enough on the ball to render the hot chase by two Egyptian defenders useless.

There you have it! Lorsch strike had caused collateral damage to the huge Pharaoh community. Silence please….

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