South Africa were expected to comfortably win against Zimbabwe in a friendly match between the two teams, but manager Gordon Igesund was given a major shock after his team suffered a 2-1 defeat.
This defeat has sent shockwaves across Africa because South Africa are a popular team with a number of international players. Zimbabwe, meanwhile, are struggling a lot to establish themselves and create an identity for themselves. In order to blend some of the youngsters, Igesund decided to field a young line-up that included a number of local players.
Hence, they were not expected to be at their peak in this match, but Igesund would not have expected this kind of performance either. After a goalless first half, Musona gave Zimbabwe the lead in the second half in the 51st minute. The 90th minute goal from Malajila put the game beyond any doubt for Zimbabwe. Parker scored in injury time to give a consolation for South Africa. Despite this loss, though, Igesund feels that this match will be a good learning curve for the young players. He says that sometimes young players learn more when they are involved in a defeat rather than victories.
South Africa have been extremely inconsistent in recent months and this defeat is a testament to this fact.
“You can see this was a team that hasn’t played for two and a half months – they came from the COSAFA Cup. But that’s no excuse, sometimes it’s very good to lose games, because when you are trying out and you want to use players as development, and get them going, you want to see whether they can jump up to that level or not,” said the South African manager after the match. South Africa are two points off the table leaders Ethiopia in the World Cup qualifying group.