Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund says his side's crucial 2-0 victory over the Central African Republic (CAR) in their World Cup qualifier will set the tone as they look to book their place in the 2014 showpiece in Brazil.
In his first qualifying game in charge, Bafana played with confidence, and managed to get the ball in the back of the net at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
The win temporarily lifted South Africa to the top of the Group A qualifying table. Ethiopia regained a two-point lead after a 1-0 win over Botswana in Addis Ababa on Sunday, leaving Bafana in second place with five points.
“I'm quietly confident,” Igesund said after his team's dominant performance.
“At the end of the day I thought we were better than them in every department.
“Our preparation was good and the guys are starting to believe in themselves.”
The hosts were in control throughout, but missed a flurry of late chances which could come back to haunt them later in the qualifying campaign.
Igesund, however, was pleased to secure the victory.
“I don't think we were careless in front of goal,” he said.
“We beat a team 2-0, playing attacking football and creating at least 10 chances. We could have won 4-0.”
Bafana will next travel to CAR, where another victory could be difficult, though Igesund, buoyed by the win, believed they had the ability to pocket another three points away from home.
“I'm confident in this group of players and we can get a result there.
“We have just under two-and-a-half months before our next match and I need to have another good look at our players.
“Now I can sit down on Monday and plan our way forward.”
Herve Loungoundji, the CAR coach, raised concerns about the refereeing and the behaviour of the SA players after the visitors had a goal disallowed following an apparent handball.
Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune was the key figure in the home team's intimidating behaviour towards officials, but the skipper stood by his conduct.
“People might question our behaviour on the pitch, behaving the way we did, but it was a clear handball,” Khune said.
“The way it was so crowded in the box, nobody saw anything.
“Even the linesman, as short as he was... and we pressurised him. He was so confused, he didn't know what to tell the referee. It was a handball.
“That guy (CAR player Romaric Liganzi) was supposed to show good sportsmanship by heading the ball with his head instead of his hand.
“You have to be cruel in this game, because sometimes it's a cruel game and sometimes you have to bring other elements into the game.”
There was good news for influential midfielder Dean Furman, who left the field just before half-time after a collision in the Bafana area.
Medical staff attempted to strap his head and face, to no avail. He left the field and was taken to hospital, but was later released with no serious injuries. - Sapa