Bafana tested ahead of AFCON

2015-01-11 21:15
Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba.

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba believes the international friendly match against Cameroon gave his side the test of what was to come in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

South Africa held the Indomitable Lions to a 1-1 draw on Saturday in Libreville, Gabon.

Bafana got off to a slow start and conceded an early goal but regrouped, forcing a draw in an exciting contest which ended 1-1.

"We create chances but we don't finish them off," Mashaba said in a statement on Sunday.

"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.

"Cameroonians are strong, big and physical and this is what you expect from West Africans."

Believe in ability

Bafana captain Dean Furman was full of praise for his teammates.

"We got off to the worst possible start so early in the game and for about 20 minutes we didn't recover from that, but 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 in our ability, believe in our team and that's what we did."

Furman said key to their success was the sense of competition within the side.

"(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," he said.

"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."

Surprise from South Africa

Meanwhile Bafana Bafana have received accolades from Cameroon coach Volcker Finke.

"Yes they are in a tough group but they are doing well," Finke said.

"While preparing for our match against them, I watched tapes of their last two games - the 2-1 win over Sudan and the 2-2 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."

Meanwhile, Orlando Pirates defender Ayanda Gcaba has been called up to replace club mate Patrick Phungwayo, who was withdrawn from the Bafana squad due to knee injury.

Gcaba was expected in Libreville, Gabon on Tuesday to join his compatriots after he had completed his medical assessment.

Phungwayo returned to South Africa on Saturday night after an MRI scan revealed he had a tear that needed time to heal.

Read more on:    bafana  |  johannesburg  |  soccer

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Bafana Bafana have been drawn with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in the qualification stages for the 2017 AFCON tournament. Where will Shakes Mashaba's men finish in their pool?

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