BLOEMFONTEIN, November 18 – Goal-shy 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa flopped again on Tuesday when held 0-0 by Jamaica in a lacklustre friendly.
Bafana Bafana (The Boys) have not scored for 385 minutes and the first African nation chosen to stage the international football showpiece ended a 17-match schedule this year with just nine goals and four victories.
The closest a match watched by President Jacob Zuma came to producing a goal was midway through the first half when New York-based Jamaican midfielder Dane Richards had a shot cleared off the line.
Richards burst through the middle, evading three tackles, and slipped the ball past goalkeeper Rowan Fernandez only for captain Aaron Mokoena to rescue his team.
Jamaican goalkeeper Dwayne Miller foiled the best South African chance on 10 minutes, using his right foot to block a close-range shot from Katlego Mphela after Benni McCarthy created a rare opening.
Recalled for the goalless draw with Japan in Port Elizabeth last Saturday, out-of-favour Blackburn striker McCarthy had another frustrating outing as he sought to add to a record 31 goals for the national team.
Carlos Alberto Parreira, the 1994 Brazil World Cup-winning coach who began a second spell in charge of South Africa last weekend, criticised Jamaica for ‘killing’ the second half at a half-full Free State Stadium.
"It was a real game only in the first half. The Jamaicans kept falling down after half-time and there were so many stoppages the rhythm of the match was destroyed.
"We should have beaten Japan and Jamaica so there is a lot of hard work ahead and I am not helped by the fact that Bafana do not play again this year," said Parreira.
Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore countered: "Congratulations to South Africa on a good performance. We allowed them too much space in the first half but were well organised after half-time.
"I am on a rebuilding mission after Jamaica failed to qualify for the World Cup and there were a lot of very young footballers out there tonight who impressed me."
The ‘Reggae Boyz’, who did not call up English Premiership duo Ricardo Gardner of Bolton and Ricardo Fuller of Stoke, completed the year with four wins, four draws, two losses and a 7-6 goal tally.