In the space of five days, two matches against Cape Verde that could have qualified Bafana Bafana for the World Cup have been lost – the second 2-1 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday night.
South Africa’s Russia 2018 dream now lies in tatters.
Garry Rodrigues scored two scorchers from a 52nd-minute free-kick and a 67th-minute drive. But the goals were also a result of Bafana giving Cape Verde room to play.
Andile Jali’s low goal in the 89th minute was a mere consolation.
Mistakes early in a coach’s tenure, such as some strange lineup decisions in Friday’s 2-1, 10-man Bafana defeat in Praia, might be understandable in one game, even a crucial World Cup qualifier.
That result put Bafana under pressure and spoilt a chance for South Africa to take control.
Coach Stuart Baxter’s starting XI on Tuesday nightraised more questions, with South Africa now almost certainly out of the running for a place at Russia 2018.
A lineup that retained Dean Furman and placed him alongside Hlompho Kekana in a two-man defensive midfield seemed far too conservative a layout for the situation.
South Africa were far too loosely arranged to keep Cape Verde’s dangerous runners in control while launching attacks off a solid platform. It was a mess.
In the first half Bafana were overly cautious and could not reach the tempo needed to create the chances they required.
As long as South Africa allowed Cape Verde half-chances, it would cost the home team at some stage.
Rodrigues’ free-kick was a belter that Wayne Sandilands could not stop.
Rodrigues produced a second stunner and Bafana’s Russia 2018 dream – barring a miracle – slipped away before their eyes.
Jali’s strike from a corner was too little, too late.