Bafana Bafana went into their defeat to Ivory Coast with a starting lineup devoid of major surprises, besides Supersport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams getting the nod ahead of his Bidvest Wits counterpart Darren Keet.
Stuart Baxter’s men kicked off their Afcon 2019 campaign on a losing note as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to the Elephants , with a 64th-minute goal from Jonathan Kodjia proving to be the decisive goal.
In the absence of regular goal-minder Itumeleng Khune, Keet was expected to be the man entrusted with the gloves, having stepped in admirably in Bafana’s last competitive match – the 2-1 victory over Libya which booked the side a ticket to Egypt.
However, it was the PSL Goalkeeper of the Year who was handed the gloves this time around, and Baxter says the decision was purely tactical.
“When we played in Tunisia against Libya, we played with three centre backs and their strength was playing in lots of crosses.
“But that was not the Ivory Coast strength. This was a different game. Darren was suited for that game [against Libya] and Darren has been a little bit more inactive.
“Ronwen was more suited for this game, his shot stopping, and his quick distribution would be important. I thought Ronwen did very well.”
The defeat sees Bafana Bafana occupying the basement in Group D ahead of Friday’s clash against Namibia.
Baxter’s men will be gunning to finish at least third in what is regarded the “Group of Death”, which could see them stand a chance of progressing through to the next round.
The new Afcon format – with 24 participants – opens the door for the best performing four third-place finishers in each group to reach the knockout stage.