Stuart Baxter and his Bafana Bafana team were simply poor capitulating to a 2-1 2018 World Cup qualifying defeat against Cape Verde in Praia on Friday night.
This puts the South Africans under pressure in Group D.
Making it to the World Cup was never going to be easy but the team were confident after comfortably beating Nigeria 2-0 in an AFCON qualifying game in Uyo.
Tokelo Rantie’s 14th-minute strike seemed to indicate the win in Cape Verde. SA needed to take control of the group was attainable.
It was downhill from there with Nuno Rocha 33rd-minute equaliser and penalty in the 38th.
Out-of-form centre back Mulomowandau Mathoho, after a patchy first half, suffered a second red card in the space of nine days in the 68th for a rash, unnecessary foul at a stage where Bafana were trying to work their way from the back foot back.
Mathoho had also been dismissed in just the seventh minute of Kaizer Chiefs’ 2-1 league defeat against SuperSport United in his last game.
South Africans were even gifted a soft lead. Instead of pressing the advantage they lost their nerve.
Bafana’s defence were shaky from the start. But it was a loss of authority and passing confidence soon after taking the lead that ultimately cost SA.
The artificial surface might have favoured the home side. But mostly it was Bafana’s infamous lack of nerve that raised its head again.
And Bafana should manage victory against Cape Verde in Durban on Tuesday.
The early goal required consolidation, then to push for a second. Instead SA eased off.