12 January 2015
Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba believes South Africa’s international friendly match against Cameroon on Saturday gave his side a taste of what is to come in the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015 tournament.
South Africa held the Indomitable Lions to a 1-all draw on Saturday, at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville, Gabon.
Bafana Bafana got off to a very slow start and conceded an early goal as Vincent Aboubacar curled home a free-kick from the edge of the area. South Africa regrouped and the match evolved into an exciting contest, with Bafana finishing the match the stronger of the two teams.
South Africa were rewarded in the 77th minute, with a fine goal from Sibusiso Vilakazi.
“We create chances but we don’t finish them off. We planned well, we knew what to expect. They are a good side, very experienced and hard working,” Masahba said.
“They were all over us in the opening 30 minutes, but my boys were very resilient and withstood the pressure and showed great grit. We knew we would come back – and come back we did in the second half. The Cameroonians gave us what to expect in Equatorial Guinea,” said Mashaba.
“Cameroonians are strong, big and physical and this is what you expect from West Africans. But I also want to believe that the people who came to watch the game got their money’s worth because there was everything one could expect in a match of this magnitude. We are happy we were able to compete in this match and it helped us a great deal with our preparations.”
The match was part of preparations for the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015 tournament, which begins on 17 January to 8 February.
‘Only get better’
Captain Dean Furman was full of praise for his teammates.
“We got off to the worst possible start early in the game and, for about 20 minutes, we didn’t recover from that. But we started picking up in the last 15 minutes of the first half,” Furman said.
“We had a good talk with the coach at half time and he told us to believe, believe in our ability, believe in our team and that’s what we did.
“[Sibusiso] Vilakazi came on and he was great. That’s the thing about our squad, everyone is fighting for places, everyone wants to start, everyone wants to have the jersey on. The boys who came on made a big difference and we are proud of our second half performance. We can only get better from this.”
Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana have received accolades from Cameroon coach Volcker Finke.
“They are in a tough group, but they are doing well. While preparing for our match against them, I watched tapes of their last two games – the 2-1 win over Sudan and the 2-all draw against Nigeria – I can tell you now many teams are in for a surprise from South Africa. They look like they can get into the second round. That is very possible,” said Finke.
The squad rested on Sunday, but will return to training on Monday to prepare for their final practice match against Mali on Wednesday, 14 January, in Libreville, Gabon. The time and venue for that match are still to be confirmed.
Orlando Pirates defender Ayanda Gcaba has been called up to replace club-mate Patrick Phungwayo who was withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana squad due to knee injury.
Gcaba is expected to join his team mates in Libreville on Tuesday, after undergoing a medical assessment and getting his visa.
Phungwayo returned home to South Africa on Saturday night after undergoing an MRI scan that revealed that he had a tear that needed time to heal.
“It is very unfortunate that we lost Phungwayo but such is life,” Mashaba said. “I would like to thank his club for releasing him to help our cause. We looking forward to working with him again in future.”
- The Amajimbos, South African Men’s Under-17 team, played to a 1-1 draw against the Junior Chipolopolo at the Nkoloma Stadium, Lusaka Zambia on Saturday.
- The Amajita, South Africa’s Under-20 National Team, were made to pay a heavy price for some defensive lapses as they were beaten 3-1 by their Qatar counterparts in an international friendly match at Grand Harmad Stadium in Doha on Saturday evening.
How the teams lined up on Saturday:
South Africa: Brilliant Khuzwayo (GK) (Jackson Mabokgwane), Anele Ngcongca (Siyabonga Nhlapho), Thabo Matlaba, Rivaldo Coetzee, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Dean Furman, Andile Jali (Thuso Phala), Oupa Manyisa, Themba Zwane (Mandla Masango), Tokelo Rantie (Bongani Zungu), Bernard Parker (Sibusiso Vilakazi)
Subs: Jackson Mabokgwane (GK), Darren Keet (GK), Eric Mathoho, Siyabonga Nhlapho, Mandla Masango, Thuso Phala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Bongani Zungu, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Bongani Ndulula.
Cameroon: 16-Fabrice Ondoa, 12-Henri Bedimo, 21-Aurelien Chedjou, 9-Franck Bagnack , 5-Jerome Guihoata, 14-Georges Mandjeck, 4-Raoul Loe, 7- Clinton N’die, 15-Francis Etoundi, 11-Edgar Salli, 10-Vincent Aboubacar.
SA Football Association and SAinfo reporter