Siphiwe Tshabalala happy with the Afcon result against Egypt
Posted: 6 June 2011 Time: 14:57
After the 0-0 draw with Egypt in an Afcon qualifier yesterday, Siphiwe Tshabalala says Bafana Bafana are “heading in the right direction”.
The South Africans touched down at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg just after 8am today (Monday).
‘Shabba’ was South Africa’s captain for the match, in the absence of the injured Steven Pienaar, and although he did not have the most inspiring of matches he says he is positive about the result.
“It was a great honour for me to lead the team in the absence of Steven in this all-important match. Him being with us in Cairo really inspired all of us. Given a chance again I would do it,” the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder says.
“To get a draw in Cairo was just amazing and I believe we could have still won it.
“The boys worked their socks off and this was a well-deserved point, this team is growing in stature and we are clearly heading in the right direction. It was tough but worth it,” Tshabalala says.
It was a tactical match, and both sides had chances to score, but it was Bafana who created the better opportunities.
Katlego Mphela came close twice, in the first and second half, but the best chance for victory was missed by second-half substitute Tlou Segolela.
The Orlando Pirates forward was set free by Reneilwe Letsholonyane, and with only the keeper to beat he blasted it against the big frame of Essam El-Hadary deep into injury time.
The South African bench was already on the edge of the field ready to celebrate, but it was not to be.
“These things happen, I know we could have wrapped it up but I am happy with a point,” Mosimane says.
“We obviously wanted maximum points but getting a point out of Cairo is not bad at all. We have always maintained that whatever happens we should return from here top of our group, and our objective has been achieved.
“It was a tough match – I must give credit to my boys, they were very disciplined tactically and that is why Egypt could not trouble us too much. The nerves were there but they handled them with maturity.
“We have a good bunch here where there are no stars, each playing for the other, and that is where the spirit of winning starts. But make no mistake, Egypt has a good team, and very organised, but I think this is not their time, it’s ours now,” Mosimane says.
Bafana are now on eight points, on top of Group G after four matches, with two rounds left.
They are followed by Niger on six and Sierra Leone on four.
African champions Egypt are in danger of not qualifying and have amassed only two points. The only time they missed on qualifying was in 1978.
Bafana Bafana’s next Afcon clash is in September, against Niger away.