Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund believes they lost to a better team after they were knocked out of the 2014 CHAN tournament followong a 3-1 defeat against Nigeria on Sunday, 19 January at the Cape Town Stadium.
Bafana Bafana went into the match knowing that victory or at least a draw would be sufficient to take them through to the quarterfinals following their 3-1 win against Mozambique and a 1-1 draw against Mali.
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund made four changes to the starting line-up that played Mali – bringing in Moeneeb Josephs for the injured captain Itumeleng Khune, while Tebogo Langerman, Tefu Mashamaite and Sibusiso Vilakazi came on for Thato Mokeke, Buhle Mkhwanazi and Edward Manqele respectively.
But that was not enough to stop a rampant Nigeria side that needed a win to advance to the next round. Igesund said he was disappointed with the outcome but offered no excuses.
“I am very disappointed that we had to exit the tournament at this stage but Nigeria deserved their victory. They were physically stronger, they were hard running and fully capitalised on our mistakes. There are no excuses. We lost to a better side. The players gave everythig they had but Nigeria defended very well,” said Igesund.
“Their first two goals should have been better dealt with by my players. We have to soldier on as we had picked the best available team for this tournament but luck was not on our side. The last 20 minutes we had them on the back foot but missed several chances that could have kept us in the match. At the end of the day we have to look at ourselves and admit we were just not good enough even though we gave it our best shot. ”
Bernard Parker’s consolation goal equaled Katlego Mphela’s 23 strikes for Bafana Bafana. Parker scored in all three matches of the CHAN tournament.
Bafana Bafana depart Cape Town on Monday afternoon (20 January) to return to Johannesburg.