Gordon Igesund says his Bafana Bafana side did enough to win their friendly international in Kenya on Tuesday evening.
|Gordon Igesund © Backpagepix
South Africa won 2-1 in a game that was played on a bumpy pitch in Nairobi thanks to a first half strike from Tokelo Rantie and an own goal from Kenyan defender Christopher Wekesa, their first away win in 18 months. Kenya netted through a Dennis Oliech penalty after Bafana skipper Bongani Khumalo was adjudged to have handled the ball.
“I’ll take the win in difficult circumstances, but I was a little disappointed with the goal we conceded. I told the players that if you come to these kinds of conditions, you have to play the percentage game and we made three errors for the equaliser,” Igesund says.
“But you know what, I have to compliment the boys, they did well and worked hard. The commitment, the attitude, being first to the ball. There is still a lot of work to be done but we will get there and hopefully after this game we will start really focusing on getting closer to the squad that I am going to choose for the Nations Cup.”
Bafana midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi was named Man of the Match and Igesund also praised the Crystal Palace man.
“I thought KG played outstandingly well, the whole side did. We just have to get used to these conditions, which were not good, but this is what we are going to have to face when we go qualify for the World Cup. We have to get stronger mentally to play on these kinds of pitches.”
Asked who had impressed him over the two matches against Poland and now Kenya, Igesund picked out two of the newer players in his squad.
“Dean Furman has done terrific job, Ricardo Nunes is a quality player, he just needs to understand how we play, but his touches on the ball are great. I haven’t really seen enough of his defensive qualities because he wasn’t really tested out there, but when he is on the ball he can make things happen from the back.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Furman says he has enjoyed his experience with the national team so far as he emerges as a possible key figure at the Nations Cup next year.
“It’s great to be involved with the squad and with a great group of lads who have made me feel welcome from the moment I came in,” he says. “We have had a lot of travelling over the last few months, in the short space of time, but we have come together well and we are building nicely for the Afcon.
“I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe that it is real, it was my dream to play for my country and it is a great moment for my family.”
He says the conditions in Kenya took some getting used to, but that the players adapted well.
“It is very different playing in Africa, for many of the boys the pitch is probably not what they are used to, but we had a game-plan and we stuck to it and got a result we deserved. It was difficult to play out natural game, to get the ball down and use our movement and play nice one-twos, so we had a different kind of game-plan and it worked for us.