Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund is happy with how his charges performed against hosts Morocco in an international friendly match played on Friday, 11 October 2013 at the Agadir New Stadium.
South Africa and the Lions of the Atlas played to a 1-1 draw with Tokelo Rantie scoring for the visitors.
The result saw Bafana Bafana maintain their unbeaten record against Morocco in five matches.
Igesund handed out three new caps to Sibusiso Vilakazi, who was in the starting line-up, as well as Ayanda Patosi and Kgosi Ntlhe who both came off the bench, while defender Tsepo Masilela made his 50th appearance for South Africa.
Also in the first 11 were two youngsters – Siyanda Xulu in defence and Daylon Claasen in midfield - with Igesund sticking to his word of introducing the new generation as he begins rebuilding towards the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament (which will be hosted by Morocco) and for Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup soccer showpiece.
Bongani Zungu, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Kermit Erasmus also came on in the second half.
Playing in front of a full house of more than 42 000 fans, Bafana Bafana controlled the first half and were rewarded with a goal in the ninth minute.
“I think it was a great friendly to play and get a feel of Morocco. We won over their supporters with our first half performance. The second half was ok but substitutions slowed the game down, and we lost a bit of shape. Some of my youngsters were a little bit nervous but it was a good performance overall. We were unlucky not to go two up. Patosi didn’t disappoint but was nervous just like Ntlhe,” said Igesund.
”They were very surprised with our play, they didn’t expect us to come at them like that and we were unfortunate not to get away with a victory. I must admit though it was a good equaliser from Morocco, and I cannot complain about their goal which was well taken.”
The Bafana Bafana mentor believes the building process was a good start, especially playing away from home.
“I said before we left South Africa that winning is important but so is blooding in the youngsters. I was prepared to send them in at the risk of losing the match but we never looked like losing. It is all work in progress,” added Igesund.
“It was a great mix of experienced players guiding the youngsters, but shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves because we still have a long way to go, and I told the players to keep their feet firmly on the ground because it is only one match. There is no player too young to play in my squad and no player too old to feature either. If these players continue like this imagine how they will be in a year or so. The older players still have a huge role to play and will keep playing until such time the youngsters can stand on their own.“
Bafana Bafana return to South Arica earlier than expected on Sunday, 13 October after deciding against playing a practice match. The squad is expected to land in Johannesburg on Monday, 14 October around 07h15.