Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba said the Central American tour which saw his charges beat Costa Rica and draw with Honduras was a worthwhile exercise as the team prepares for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Angola.
South Africa beat Costa Rica 1-0 at the San Jose National Stadium, last Thursday, 8 October through a cheeky goal by Andile Jali before being held by Honduras 1-1 at San Pedro Sula’s Olympico Metropolitan Stadium on Tuesday.
Defender Erick Mathoho had given Bafana Bafana an early lead with a towering header but Erick Andino equalised moments later as the match ended in a stalemate.
Bafana Bafana were more dominant in the first half but the hosts piled pressure in the second half creating some gilt-edged chances. It was the visitors however, who fashioned two late chances that could have swayed the match in the visitors’ favour but both Sibusiso Vilakazi and Mandla Masango saw their efforts hit the woodwork and narrowly missing the goal line respectively.
But despite not chalking another away win in the Americas, Mashaba said the two matches were good exercises for his plans against Angola in November.
“I could not have asked for a better work out. It showed us areas which we need to improve ahead of the World Cup matches against Angola next month.
“We have managed to shore-up defence-wise and I am happy with how water tight our back four have developed,” said Mashaba.
The Bafana Bafana mentor also praised his midfield for keeping possession for longer periods, a recipe for methodical build-ups.
He however, said there was still some work to be done when it comes to finishing.
“We could have stolen the match at the death, but Vilakazi and Masango were denied in the dying minutes. But we would continue working out on that particular area. We also need consistency for the entire 90 minutes.
“We finished the stronger of the two teams against Honduras and with a bit of that luck, we could have scored two good wins in Central America. Still a win and a draw are good returns,” he said.
Mashaba and his technical team return home today to help in preparations for the CHAN tournament against Angola on Saturday at Rand Stadium.