• Furman: Bafana ready to mix it with the big guns

    Dean Furman of Bafana Bafana challenges Mohamed Salah of Egypt

    Bafana Bafana midfielder Dean Furman hopes that his side can use their experience at the Africa Cup of Nations to build towards bigger things after a 2-1 defeat by Nigeria sent South Africa packing in the quarter-finals.

    Bafana may have got off to a slow start to the tournament, but managed to scrape through the group stages before shocking the continent with a 1-0 win over hosts Egypt in the round of 16.

    This set up a last-eight clash with the Super Eagles, where Bafana were just a few minutes away from forcing the game into extra time until William Troost-Ekong’s late goal handed Nigeria the win.

    Speaking to SuperSport TV after the game Furman analysed his team’s display.

    ‘They kind of sat off us in the first half and we didn’t move the ball quick enough, so we didn’t really hurt them enough. Then they get their goal and again they sat off and waited for us to make mistakes,’ said the midfielder.

    ‘In the second half we decided to play higher up the pitch, we pressed them higher like we did the other night against Egypt and it worked for us, we came alive, got the goal and it seemed like there was only going to be one winner.

    ‘It looked like they [Nigeria] were tired and to get that goal at the end, that one is going to hurt for a while but we can hold our heads up, we fought out there, we fought for every ball, it could have very easily gone our way.’

    After not qualifying for the last couple of editions of the tournament, a quarter-final exit signifies a vast improvement for the South Africans and Furman is hoping they can build on their experience in Egypt.

    ‘I think everyone in this team can be proud of themselves, the way they acquitted themselves, the way they came out here. We showed flashes of brilliance, especially in the last game at times tonight some of our attacking play was great again, maybe not to the level of the Egypt game,’ he added.

    ‘We caused them problems without really having that final ball but the boys can go away with their heads held high, hopefully from this experience Bafana Bafana is ready to mix it with the big teams on this continent.’

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