POLOKWANE, 06 JUN – Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti says his team lost their 2018 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup Plate Semi-final match against South Africa in the first 30 minutes of the game.
The Brave Warriors were beaten 4-1 by neighbours South Africa at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Tuesday.
Facing the media after the match, Mannetti said he felt things “just fell apart” in the first 30 minutes and his side deserved to lose.
“We could not settle, they set defensive traps for us. After 30 minutes it was damage control. If possible I would have replaced seven or eight players in those first 30 minutes. It is uncharacteristic for our defence to leak goals that way,” he said.
The coach said this is the team’s biggest defeat in recent years, especially coming from a great performance in Morocco earlier this year.
“If you defend the way we did in the first 30 minutes, you are left with chasing the game and doing damage control. If you try and chase the game then you will leave gaps at the back, meaning the damage could be worse,” he explained.
Mannetti said the team’s defence had performed well at the 2018 African Nations Championship, where they reached the quarter-finals after conceding just one goal against Zambia.
On a positive note, he said the tournament had given him an idea of what to do for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zambia.
“From the tournament, the players showed good character, they had periods where the combination play was superb. We also tried to keep the ball and tried to come up with solutions to break up the South African defence,” Mannetti added.
He however lamented the absence of other regular players, saying they would have made a difference. Their absence has helped him come up with solutions for his next game against Zambia during the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which resume in September.
He concluded that a lot of lessons were learned by himself and his players, which will be valuable going forward.
This is possibly the last match for the Brave Warriors as there is no International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) friendly date between now and September.
The league will also be in its infancy at that point, hence it was important for them to blend in new players.