Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki with Thulani Hlatshwayo during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers match between South Africa and Sudan at Orlando Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Johannesburg. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki with Thulani Hlatshwayo during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers match between South Africa and Sudan at Orlando Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Johannesburg. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU

Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo has blamed fatigue for the team’s sluggish performance against Sudan in an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.

Coach Molefi Ntseki’s charges laboured to a 1-0 victory against the lowly ranked minnows three days after travelling from Ghana.

Hlatshwayo said the situation could have been far worse had Bafana failed to beat Sudan after the 2-0 defeat to Ghana in their opening match of Group C.

The Bidvest Wits defender also admitted that the team’s display was below par and he attributed the display to the enormous distances they covered between the two games.

“We had to bounce back after our loss against Ghana‚” said Hlatshwayo of a win earned courtesy of a lone strike from Lebogang Phiri on the stroke of halftime.

“The way we played was OK but I feel we put ourselves under pressure. We could have scored two or three more goals in the first half.

“It was risky as they could have scored one‚ because their intentions were to come here‚ sit and then try to catch us on the break.”

Scoring before halftime proved to be a huge relief for Ntseki’s team.

“It was important to score the goal before halftime because if you look at the time‚ it was around the critical phase close to the break‚” he said.

“Had we gone to halftime 0-0 they would have been motivated but after we scored they opened up play in the second half‚ though they still didn’t create as many chances as we did.”

Hlatshwayo lamented the tough travelling schedule that limited the team to one training session, the day before the Sudan encounter.

The Afcon qualifiers will continue in August 2020 with Bafana playing back-to-back matches against São Tomé e Príncipe‚ who lost 1-0 to Ghana at home on Monday after their 4-0 away loss to Sudan last Wednesday.