Durban - Bafana Bafana midfielder Dean Furman hailed South Africa’s 2-0 Africa Cup of Nations victory over Angola on Wednesday as a very important win for the nation, saying they were spurred on in incredible fashion by the Durban crowd.
Close to 50 000 spectators turned up at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, and lifted by a much improved showing by Gordon Igesund’s men in comparison to the lacklustre opening draw against Cape Verde Islands, witnessed their team ease to victory over the Antelopes.
Furman was making his first start at the finals and immediately won over the fans with his urgency and commitment, which eventually led to him named man-of-the-match.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Bafana v Angola
“We could really feel the crowd building up behind us,” the Oldham Athletic captain said.
"It was the kind of encouragement the players needed, especially as things didn't go the way we wanted them to in the opening game. our step.
"Obviously it works both ways, we want to give them a team that they can get behind and when they get behind us, it’s a great atmosphere to play in. So we’re delighted with the way it went."
Furman, an ever-present in the midfield, was one of five new faces in the starting XI after the opening result with Tsepo Masilela, May Mahlangu, Tokelo Rantie and Katlego Mphela also featuring in an attacking line-up.
"I just wanted to play my own game,” Furman said.
"The coach gave me instructions how to play, but he also said to us ‘go and express yourself.'
"And that’s exactly what every single player on the pitch did. From the starters to the boys who came on as substitutes.
"The bench was incredible as well, so everyone to a man was outstanding today and we’re delighted with the three points."
The 24-year-old, born in Cape Town, only has a handful of caps for South Africa after his debut for the country during the latter part of 2012.
"This was a very big game for myself personally, but I didn’t want to get nervous or overawed by the situation," Furman added.
"I knew I had a job to do and that job was to sit there, be disciplined and work hard for the team. I wanted to just go out there and play my normal game.
"I’m delighted we pulled it off and it’s a very important win for the nation."
South Africa now top Group A with four points, two clear of Cape Verde and Morocco, and three ahead of the Angolans.
Bafana next face Morocco in Durban on Sunday (19:00 kick-off).