Bafana Bafana

Igesund proud of Bafana

2013-06-09 14:02
Gordon Igesund (AFP)

Johannesburg - Head coach Gordon Igesund was relieved after his Bafana Bafana side overcame a disruptive build-up to cruise past the Central African Republic in their Soccer World Cup qualifier at a neutral venue in Yaounde, Cameroon, on Saturday.

South Africa bagged a crucial three points with a 3-0 win to keep their qualifying hopes alive, remaining two points behind group leaders Ethiopia in the second round of African qualifying for the 2014 global spectacle in Brazil.

"It was very tough. We only trained once in the week, really, and it was very tough on the players towards the end of the game," Igesund said.

Bafana had a troubled journey to Cameroon, as they were left stranded in Douala on arrival after their connecting flight was cancelled.

They missed a day's training before embarking on a treacherous road trip to the capital city.

"I haven't spoken about it and the players haven't spoken about it, but I'll tell you now, it was a very tough week for us - the travelling, the flights, and all this kind of nonsense," Igesund said.

"We kept it aside, we just stayed focussed for the game, and we've got four games left to get to the World Cup."

Bernard Parker scored Bafana's first goal in the 27th minute after he was fed by Siphiwe Tshabalala, who had a blinder of a game.

Tshabalala then doubled their tally shortly before the half-time break, and Katlego Mashego netted a header in second-half injury time to seal the win.

"The CAR team is really a tough side," Igesund said.

"They showed it both in Cape Town, and again today (Saturday), but I am proud of my boys. They had so much belief and worked for each other."

South Africa will face Ethiopia in Addis Ababa next Sunday for top spot in Group A, before their last match of the second round against Botswana, at home, in September.

If they finish top of their group, Bafana will progress to the third round in October and November, where they will play a return-leg tie for a place in the World Cup.

Igesund believed his team's fate remained in their own hands, despite Ethiopia's 2-1 victory over Botswana at the weekend, and he said they would not be sidetracked by other results in their group.

"We are not interested in what happened in the other match," he said.

"We have to play both sides and we will be looking forward to the challenge.

"We do not expect favours from anyone. We must do all the work ourselves."

Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune was delighted with the performance.

"Three goals and a clean sheet, we could not have asked for anything better. We showed mental strength out there," the skipper said.

"The approach to the game was positive and that is why we came out tops.

"For now, we need to enjoy the victory but must quickly remember that we still have a mountain to climb in Addis Ababa.

"Both teams have won their matches (this weekend) and they will go into this clash high in spirits, but I am positive we can complete this mission."

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