SAfrica beats Burkina Faso in game for Mandela
South Africa beat Burkina Faso 2-0 in a friendly dedicated to
its anti-apartheid hero and former president Nelson Mandela,
opening a unique day of sport at the 2010 World Cup stadium in
Soweto where the national rugby team also played later
Siphiwe Tshabalala turned and fired a crisp left-footed shot
into the bottom corner in the 22nd minute, lifting a mixed crowd of
football and rugby fans at FNB Stadium.
Luyolo Nomandela was initially awarded the second in injury
time, although a half-saved shot from fellow substitute Lerato
Chabangu appeared to have already crossed the line when Nomandela
poked the ball into the net.
Although Burkina Faso was this year’s African Cup runner-up and
narrowly lost February’s final against Nigeria at the same stadium,
formerly Soccer City, this team was well understrength. South
Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was rarely tested until a couple
of late chances for the visitors from West Africa.
Alassane Sango sent a long-range shot narrowly over and, in the
last 10 minutes, substitute Simplice Yameogo only just missed
connecting with a dangerous low cross that flashed across Khune’s
Tshabalala’s opener capped almost complete dominance from Bafana
Bafana in the first 20 minutes. The second goal came when Chabangu
dodged his way past Burkinabe defenders to unleash a shot that was
half-blocked by Mohamed Kabore. As the ball bounced toward goal,
Nomandela made sure it went in.
South Africa and Burkina Faso both have crucial World Cup
qualifiers next month, when they have to win their final group
games to have a chance at progressing to Africa’s final playoffs
for a place in Brazil in 2014.
Later at FNB Stadium on Saturday, the Springboks opened their
Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina as South Africa
combined two of its favorite sports at one of its most important
stadiums to honor its 95-year-old former leader Mandela, who has
spent more than two months ill in a hospital.
Between the two games a South African Airways jet flew low over
the orange-seated, 90,000-plus stadium, reviving memories of a
similar stunt at rugby’s famous 1995 World Cup final in
Johannesburg. Mandela, famously wearing the national team jersey,
inspired a newly-democratic, post-apartheid South Africa to victory
on that occasion in one of the country’s most poignant and unifying
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