27 May 2014
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said he was elated after his charges held World Cup-bound Australia to a 1-1 draw in a high-tempo friendly international at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Monday night.
Going into the game written off by many soccer pundits, Bafana Bafana were given an inspirational pep talk by South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan, who reminded them of what playing for one’s nation entailed.
After withstanding a strong opening by the hosts, South Africa opened the scoring in the 13th minute through Ayanda Patosi, who impressed in his first start for Bafana Bafana.
Although their lead was almost immediately cancelled out by a Tim Cahill header, Igesund’s charges showed impressive heart to give as good as they got after a tough opening 25 minutes.
‘This team will go places’
“I have always said this team will go places if it remains grounded. I am happy they have come out with a credible outcome considering the hype created before our departure to the Australasia tour,” Igesund after the match.
“I now hope to take this momentum to New Zealand and if they produce the same form, we will enter the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on a high.
“I have massive belief in this squad. The players have the right attitude, are talented and they know what they want.”
Igesund said the secret behind his team’s performance was hard work. “They are prepared to die for one another and are prepared to run their socks out. Once you have a positive team, half the job is done,” he added.
The beginning of good things
Patosi, the scorer of Bafana Bafana’s, said the result was the beginning of good things to come.
“This was not about me,” he said. “It was team work and we need to build from this encounter.
“I have always said there is massive talent in the country. No one is guaranteed a place in the team. Any person selected should play his part.”
Thulani Serero, who shone in the middle of the park, said the team needed to work harder to get to the point where they will become competitive on the continent and in the world.
“We did not qualify for the World Cup and that is something this country should be doing regularly,” he reckoned. “South Africa should not watch World Cups from home. Having missed Brazil, it must be mandatory that we qualify for Russia in 2018.”
A good week for SA football
Safa President Danny Jordaan said it had been a good week for South African football following victories for the national under-20 and national women’s team over the weekend.
Amajita defeated Ethiopia 1-0 for a 3-0 aggregate victory in qualifying for the 2015 Africa Youth Championships, while Banyana Banyana thrashed the Comoros 13-0 in the first leg of their African Women’s Championship qualifier.