Sydney - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has urged his Australian counterparts to go to Brazil with a positive attitude and enjoy their World Cup campaign next month.
As it happened: Australia v Bafana
“I told the (Australian) players to go and enjoy themselves out there,” Igesund said following a 1-1 draw against the Socceroos in Sydney on Monday evening.
“I think what’s important is to be in the tournament. Australia are going to the tournament and we’re very jealous that we’re not going.
“At the end of the day, the guys must go out and enjoy themselves. They played fairly well, they were also trying out things, this combination and that.
“I think Australia will be competitive, there’s no doubt about that and if the ball rolls for them -- we’ve proven that, South Africa beat Spain, so why can’t Australia beat Spain?”
Bafana held their own against a determined Australian outfit, who were playing their final game on home soil before departing for South America on Wednesday to take part in their fourth World Cup.
Ayanda Patosi opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a classy finish, but saw his goal cancelled out by an unfortunate own goal from South African defender Erick Mathoho, who mistimed a goal-line clearance and buried the ball into the back of the net.
The game was the first on tour for the South Africans, who will miss the Brazil showpiece having failed to qualify, but Gordon Igesund's youngsters put up a spirited performance in front of a 50 000-strong ANZ Stadium crowd.
“I thought we both had chances, it was a fair reflection, there’s no doubt about that. We conceded a goal we shouldn’t have conceded, we should have been more aggressive,” Igesund added.
“It was a competitive game and it was played in the right spirit, which I was happy about. Tactically the players were very good tonight, we never really let them penetrate us.
“Although Australia had a bit of possession in the right areas, we allowed them to have that possession and they didn’t quite penetrate us. It wasn’t like we were under siege at any time.”
Written off as a second-string side before kick-off Bafana looked good in patches and dampened much of the home supporters' spirits, who came out in numbers to bid farewell to the Socceroos.
“It’s always good to register good results. But keeping in mind, we had to make almost 12 or 13 changes to the squad.
“That wasn’t easy, and we had two training sessions. But the guys applied themselves well.
“The guys showed a lot of character and commitment and a great attitude.”
Australian boss Ange Postecoglou, meanwhile, admitted South Africa gave their hosts a good run for their money, adding that the fixture ticked the right boxes as a good preparation fixture for is side.
“South Africa worked hard, they were desperate in their defending, they blocked a lot of things,” Postecoglou said.
“South Africa gave us a good game, which we wanted, so we were pleased, in terms of a contest it was a good contest.”