BAFANA Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said he was elated by his charges’ 1-1 draw against FIFA World Cup-bound Australia in a high-tempo friendly match played 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 SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan who reminded them of what playing for one’s nation entailed.
The visitors took the game to the hosts and duly opened the score in the 13th minute through the impressive Ayanda Patosi, who many say is a rising star bound to take over from the likes of Benni McCarthy and other top Bafana Bafana strikers.
Although Bafana Bafana’s lead was immediately cancelled off by a Tim Cahill header which was helped home by defender Erick Mathoho’s desperate clearance, Bafana Bafana took the match to the Socceroos and with a bit of luck could have stolen a famous victory.
“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,” said Igesund.
“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 this 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,” added Igesund.
Scorer Ayanda Patosi said this was the beginning of good things to come.
“This was not about me. 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,” said Patosi.
Thulani Serero, who had a blinder in the middle of the park, said the team needed to work harder to get 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. South Africa should not watch World Cups from home. Having missed Brazil, it must be mandatory that we qualify for Russia in 2018,” said the Ajax Amsterdam attacking midfielder.
SAFA President, Dr Jordaan said this has been a good week for South African football following Amajita and Banyana Banyana’s victories over the weekend.
Bafana Bafana leave for New Zealand on Tuesday morning for a date with the islanders on Friday night.-www.safa.net