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Bafana held by Namibia in Rustenburg

Bafana Bafana

Bafana Bafana and Namibia were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in their first international friendly of the year at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Thursday evening, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.

Molefi Ntseki handed Ronwen Williams the captained arm-band in the absence of Thulani Hlatswayo, while naming debutants Thibang Phete, Siyethemba Sithebe and Thabo Nodada in his starting line-up.

The game got off to a slow start with both teams trying to find their rhythm in the early exchanges of the match.

South Africa drew first blood when they took the lead in the 18th minute when Luther Singh slotted the ball past Virgil Vries after he was played through on goal by Kermit Erasmus.

The Brave Warriors started to gain momentum in the game and continued to press high up the field as they went in search of an equalising goal.

Bafana had a chance to double their lead close to half time but Singh failed to connect with Nodada's inviting ball which was played into his path.

At the other end, Mamelodi Sundowns' new signing Peter Shalulile should have levelled matters in stoppage time but blazed his effort over the target from close range as Bafana went into the break with a one-goal lead over Namibia.

Ntseki opted to make a double change after the restart as Gladwin Shitolo and Lyle Foster came on to replace Mothobi Mvala and Erasmus, respectively.

Namibia continued to push forward and were eventually awarded a goal in the 55th minute when Absalom Limbondi slotted the ball through the legs of Williams to make it 1-1 after receiving a pass from Dynamo Fredericks.

South Africa made another double change in the 73rd minute when Sfiso Hlanti and Goss was brought on to replace Phete and Williams.

Goss was then called into action two minutes later when the shotstopper made a great save to deny Joslin Kamatuka's low strike.

The home side had a great chance to take the lead in the final 10 minutes of the game but Dolly could not get the ball past the onrushing Vries.

Both sides pressed forward in the closing stages of the game but neither side could find the winning goal as Bafana and Namibia shared the spoils in Rustenburg.