Bafana Bafana has defeated Egypt in a 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at the Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday.
South Africa still tops the group with seven points after three matches, six points more than bottom of the group Egypt.
Striker Katlego Mphela scored three minutes into the referee’s optional time to send the almost full stadium crowd into a frenzy. This was Bafana Bafana’s second win in Group G – they have already defeated Niger and drew with Sierra Leone. South Africa did not start well, and failed to find the net in the ninety minutes. And with the crowd growing impatient, along came Mphela. HE found the back of the net following a defence-splitting pass from defender Anele Ngcongca.
The goal has elevated Mphela to third-highest scorer in Bafana Bafana history. He is now on 19 goals, one more than Philemon Masinga but still trailing Benni McCarthy (31) and Shaun Bartlett (29). Mphela, Steven Pienaar and Siphiwe Tshabalala were the only three players in the squad who had faced Egypt in their last clash in London in 2006, with head coach Pitso Mosimane as the caretaker coach.
This was the first time South Africa had defeated the North Africans in any competition. Bafana Bafana haven’t conceded goals in three qualifiers.
Mosimane was ecstatic after the emotionally-exhausting match.
“I want to thank all the South Africans for the support, we would not have done it without you. This was a big game for the country, and it required a lot of mental toughness. This was no ordinary win against a team that has tormented the whole of Africa for years. It was goof to win with all their stars present so there would not be any excuses. They are very experienced side and we found it difficult to break them. My boys told me they want to write their own history in this generation. It was the best of matches as we showed that technically there is still a lot to do, but we were strong mentally and this match reminded of the clash against Mexico in the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said Mosimane.
The coach added that his side is also growing mentally hence they could hold on against the Egyptians.
“Some players were physically not up to scratch – like Steven Pienaar, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Siphiwe Tshabalala – but the speed game helped us a lot in the end. We tired our opponents out because we did our homework. I lived this fixture for the five months and I am glad it is now out of the way. This win is a great gift for SAFA as we celebrate our 20th Year Anniversary. We needed to stay top of the group at the end of this encounter and we achieved that,” added the coach.
The Bafana Bafana dressing room turned into song and dance theatre house after the match, with midfielder Dikgacoi leading the songs. SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani and SAFA Acting CEO Ms Pinky Lehoko visited the boys in the dressing room.
“We launched our 20th Year Anniversary celebrations on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 and I believe this victory is just a perfect start for the match SAFA events that are coming. What you did tonight will not be forgotten in a long time, you were excellent. In fact you wiped away the tears and the misery caused by New Zealand in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. Tonight the nation is celebrating and thanks to you guys, well done and keep it up,” said Nematandani.
“This was just unbelievable, you have done the country very proud. Thanks for the effort that you put into the preparations, tonight you are reaping the rewards,” added Ms Lehoko.
Morgan Gould was chosen as the Man of the Match.