This is a beautiful game, says Igesund of Bafana’s epic draw

2013-01-28 00:00

THEY certainly made it as difficult for themselves as possible, but last night’s 2-2 Africa Cup of Nations draw with Morocco means that Bafana Bafana have gone beyond the group stages of a major tournament for the first time since 2002.

They will stay in Durban for their quarter-final this Saturday.

The buzz in and around the stadium was electric hours before kick-off, with Bafana supporters lighting up Durban in a way that was last seen in 2010.

The beer was flowing too — understandable given the scorching heat and humidity that had turned the city into a furnace. By 6 pm, the sky had turned dark and the rain started falling, and fans welcomed its cooling effect.

What happened on the pitch was almost too much for some to handle.

Bafana started the day top of Group A. After they had gone a goal down, it appeared they would finish second. Then when they got it back to 1-1 it looked as though they had clinched top spot again.

What was happening between Cape Verde and Angola in Port Elizabeth was making matters at Moses Mabhida even more dramatic.

Cape Verde won their match late, meaning that Siyabonga Sangweni’s 87th minute strike for Bafana was enough not only to get his side through to the quarter-finals, but also to keep them top of their group.

Bafana coach Gordon Igesund explained what was going through his mind during the last few minutes of the match: “The pressure was definitely on and I’m just glad we came out on top.

“I keep telling myself that this is a beautiful game, but it is only a game.”

“I was getting updates from the other match the whole time.”

Igesund said he always had the belief that his players could make it this far, and that there was no reason they couldn’t go all the way and win the tournament.

“These players are giving their everything and they are so proud to be representing their country. If we give our all, then that is all I can ask,” Igesund added.

South Africa will be given the day off today and will resume training tomorrow.

“We know that there is still a long way to go, but it is very important that the players enjoy this moment,” said the coach. “I trust every one of them and I want them to celebrate this.”

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