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South Africa’s preparation for next month’s crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Niger continued on a positive note with a 3-0 victory over Burkina Faso in a friendly international at Johannesburg’s Coca-Cola Stadium on Wednesday evening.

In terms of the Fifa rankings, Burkina Faso are ranked 39th in the world and 4th in the Caf zone, as compared to South Africa’s 49th and 7th placing in the respective categories, but it was Bafana who began brightly and found an early goal in the 14th minute through Katlego Mphela.

South Africa won a free kick just outside the area and the Sundowns striker was on hand to guide the ball just over the wall and into the bottom left corner, beating the keeper and giving the crowd in Johannesburg something to cheer about.

Siphiwe Tshabalala, wearing the captain’s armband in Pienaar’s absence, did well to score the second goal of the game five minutes after the opener, thanks to a lovely team move which saw the Kaizer Chiefs man finish clinically from an angle.

The half time whistle sounded and the sides retired to the change rooms for a few minutes with the score at 2-0 for Bafana.

The home side dominated the game and at times Burkina Faso seemed confused with the balance of play shifted so heavily in favour of the South Africans. In the 52nd minute the inevitable happened and Bafana pushed the game beyond the visitors, thanks to Mphela’s second of the night and his 21st goal for the national team.

Thulani Serero delivered a great through ball and that found Mphela with a great deal of space to exploit, and the striker made sure of the 3-0.

Burkina Faso were definitely an improved side in the second half, but not by a great deal, and a couple of shots were all that the Stallions could muster, as Bafana keeper Itumeleng Khune comfortably dealt with the danger.

A few substitutions were all this game would provide towards the end of the match, and South Africa walked out comfortable 3-0 winners in Johannesburg.

This victory against the west Africans will help boost Bafana Bafana’s Fifa ranking, which could be crucial when the draw for the Africa Cup of Nations finals is made in October – assuming Pitso Mosimane’s team qualify.

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