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HomeFIFA World CupRohr: Bafana Helped By Sundowns Players

Rohr: Bafana Helped By Sundowns Players

Benin coach Gernot Rohr said Bafana Bafana hugely benefitted in having Mamelodi Sundowns players as they lost to South Africa in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Goals by Percy Tau – a Sundowns old boy – and the impressive Khuliso Mudau in the first half, were enough to see Bafana win their opening World Cup campaign in 19 years.

But it was nervy at the end as Benin came back strong in the second half and Steve Mounie rifled one back for the visitors.

It meant coach Rohr, who was appointed in February by Benin, is without a win now in six matches.

“It was not far away from the draw. We tried but the experience and the complexity of the block of Sundowns you can see that they know themselves very well,” said Rohr, who highlighted this at the press conference on the eve of the game, where he watched Sundowns beat Wydad Athletic Club in the African Football League last weekend.

“Sadly, we don’t have this complexity in our team. When you have a block of six or seven players from one big club, it’s always easier to make a good and collective game and I thought they did very well in the first half.

“Then we changed a little bit at halftime, and it looked better.”     

Tragedy, before the game started, struck within Benin camp as their defender Olivier Verdon lost his older brother and had to leave the team in Durban immediately.

Rorh said Verdon’s loss came at a cost before the game started because he was a shoo-in to start.  

“Yesterday, we had a big departure of our defender Olivier Verdon, his brother died,” Rohr confirmed.

“So, he decided to leave to go back to his family. We prepared the game with him, and we had to change at the last minute, and it was not easy.

“Our left striker who was sick only played 35 minutes. It is not an excuse; South Africa was the better team today and we hope to play better next Tuesday against Lesotho.”

The match against Lesotho, who held Nigeria in Uyo a few days ago – the national team Rohr previously coached and ended Bafana’s 2019 AFCON journey in the quarterfinals in Egypt, will be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.    

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' former KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN. Robin-Duke has left iDiski Times.