Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has hailed his players’ attitude in their famous win over World and European champions as a sign of good things to come.
A goal in the 56th minute by striker Bernard Parker, his 19th in Bafana Bafana colours was enough for Igesund’s charges to record perhaps their biggest victory in recent times.
While many had written off Igesund’s men as outright underdogs, the boys showed a lot of character, guts and determination.
Captain Itumeleng Khune who foiled Spain now and again was duly named man of the match, a fitting tribute just days after being crowned the South African Sports Star of the Year at the South African Sports Awards on Sunday (17 November).
According to Igesund, it was a great overall performance for South Africa.
“We have been on track for a while, and I think tonight’s performance was a culmination of the hard work we have put into our efforts. The players did well and stuck to the game plan. But we should not get carried away and keep our feet on the ground because there is still a lot of work to be done, and we should continue working as hard as we have been doing,” said Igesund.
“Our vision remains the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as well as the 2018 World Cup in Russia. I believe my players were tactically very good and fought very hard. I still believe we could have finished the game off earlier had we taken all our chances.”
The match was billed as “The Champions are Coming” and was used for Spain to return to the scene of their 2010 Fifa World Cup triumph where they lifted their first ever title. But South Africa spoiled the celebration for the visitors.
“On a personal note it’s always good to win a football match it doesn’t matter if it’s Swaziland or Spain, they are all important matches. Winning brings confidence to the team and to the nation but tonight was a very special night because we showed that we can match the best,” added the Bafana Bafana mentor.
The match was delayed for a few minutes as there was drama on the sidelines after Spain wanted to introduce their seventh substitute following the injury to goalkeeper Victor Valdez who had come on in the second half for captain Iker Casillas. The move was a violation of the rules that only six substitutes should be used in an international friendly match.
“I was not fighting on the sidelines, I was just informing them that they had already made six substitutes as per the rules of the game and also from our agreement in the meeting a day before the match. I also added that if they want to make another change it is up to the match officials – but I think the rules are rules and they shouldn’t be changed even if it is a friendly match. I was not refusing them to put on another player, and was quite happy for them to get on another player in terms of fair play. I think it was a misunderstanding due to a language barrier,” concluded Igesund.
This is how they lined up:
South Africa: Itumeleng Khune, Anele Ngcongca, Thabo Matlaba, Bongani Khumalo [Siyanda Xulu 46th], Thabo Nthete, Dean Furman, Andile Jali [Kamohelo Mokotjo 50th], Oupa Manyisa [Bongani Zungu 62nd], Daylon Claasen [Tshabalala 46th], Bernard Parker [Ayanda Patosi 90th], Tokelo Rantie.
Spain: Casillas [Valdez 46th] [Reina 80th], Arbeloa, Albiol, Ramos, Monreal, Busquets, Alonso [Mata 62nd], Iniesta [Koke 75th], Pedro [Navas 62nd], Villa [Negredo 58th], Llorente [Cazorla 46th].