Furman puts emotions aside to lead Bafana by example

2014-11-17 00:00

DEAN Furman says that captaining Bafana Bafana to Afcon qualification has been the highlight of his career.

Named Bafana’s new leader in tragic circumstances after former skipper and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was murdered; Furman led by example in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sudan in what was his first match as national captain.

“It is probably one of the biggest honours and one of the proudest moments not only of my career but of my life,” Furman said after Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Sudan. “It was an emotional week. The spirit in the camp has been high. I was lucky enough to be elected as the captain, but let me tell you now that there were leaders all over that pitch.”

The central midfielder, who plays his football at third tier English club Doncaster Rovers, paid tribute to Meyiwa.

“We dedicate that win to Senzo who was in our minds and hearts the whole week and out on the pitch today [Saturday],” said Furman.

Turning his attention to the match, Furman said that he had been impressed by his side’s display.

“We’re delighted with the victory. In the past we haven’t quite got there.

“We know that we’re going to the Afcon finals,” he said. “Some of the football that we played was excellent. We had to be patient and when we got the first goal it opened up for us. In the last 10 minutes we were under pressure, but overall we are delighted to get the win.”

Coach Shakes Mashaba was also thrilled with what he saw from his side, and he quickly made mention of goalkeeper Darren Keet who had stepped in as Meyiwa’s replacement. “Darren Keet did very well. He came in under difficult circumstances and even that goal he conceded, we can’t blame him for that, his defence went to sleep,” said Mashaba.

That was the first time that Bafana have conceded a goal in five matches of qualifying, but Mashaba did not seem too concerned by anything other than the fact that his side had booked their spot at Afcon 2015. “There is nothing that can make me sad. They scored, but we still won,” he said. “To see our boys playing the type of football they played today was great. Everything that you can ask for as a coach, it was there.”

After having been asked to talk about Meyiwa all week, Mashaba reluctantly gave one last response when pressed on his former captain’s contribution to Bafana securing their place in Equatorial Guinea next year. “Senzo in the same game [when Bafana beat Sudan 3-0 away from home on September 5] pulled a couple of saves — three or four — that were sure goals,” said Mashaba. “His contribution through qualifying was massive. We didn’t concede a goal. We can only hope that from his legacy we learn something.”

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